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Fuji Xerox Super Cup 2016 Preview: Sanfrecce Hiroshima vs. Gamba Osaka

Gamba Osaka forward Takashi Usami (C) controls the ball among Urawa Reds defender Tomoaki Makino (L) and defender Ryota Moriwaki (R) during their Fuji Xerox Super Cup football match in Yokohama on February 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA February 28, 2015| Credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA

You know how the Football Association in England has its Community Shield? Well, in Japan, there is an equivalent, called the Japanese Super Cup, or, under sponsorship, the Fuji Xerox Super Cup. It pairs the J.League Division 1 champions against the Emperor’s Cup champions (unless the former wins both, at which the J.League Division 1 runner-up takes part). In this case, either scenario will pit Hajime Moriyasu‘s Sanfrecce Hiroshima against Kenta Hasegawa’s Gamba Osaka on Saturday, February 20 at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.

The one-off match was first contested in 1977 but its current format has been established since 1994. There is no extra time in this contest; if the contest is tied through 90 minutes, the match goes to penalties. Here is the last of past winners of the Japanese Super Cup.

Year J. League Champions Score Emperor’s Cup Winners Date Venue
1994 Verdy Kawasaki 2–1 Yokohama Flügels March 5, 1994 National Stadium, Tokyo
1995 Verdy Kawasaki 2–2
Bellmare Hiratsuka March 11, 1995
1996 Yokohama Marinos 0–2 Nagoya Grampus Eight March 9, 1996
1997 Kashima Antlers 3–2 Verdy Kawasaki March 5, 1997
1998 Júbilo Iwata 1–2 Kashima Antlers March 14, 1998
1999 Kashima Antlers 2–1 Shimizu S-Pulse February 27, 1999
2000 Júbilo Iwata 1–1
Nagoya Grampus Eight March 4, 2000
2001 Kashima Antlers 0–3 Shimizu S-Pulse March 3, 2001
2002 Kashima Antlers 1–1
Shimizu S-Pulse February 23, 2002
2003 Júbilo Iwata 3–0 Kyoto Purple Sanga March 1, 2003
2004 Yokohama F. Marinos 1–1
Júbilo Iwata March 6, 2004
2005 Yokohama F. Marinos 2–2
Tokyo Verdy 1969 February 26, 2005 Nissan Stadium, Yokohama
2006 Gamba Osaka 1–3 Urawa Red Diamonds February 25, 2006 National Stadium, Tokyo
2007 Urawa Red Diamonds 0–4 Gamba Osaka February 24, 2007
2008 Kashima Antlers 2–2
Sanfrecce Hiroshima March 1, 2008
2009 Kashima Antlers 3–0 Gamba Osaka February 28, 2009
2010 Kashima Antlers 1–1
Gamba Osaka February 27, 2010
2011 Nagoya Grampus 1–1
Kashima Antlers February 26, 2011 Nissan Stadium, Yokohama
2012 Kashiwa Reysol 2–1 F.C. Tokyo March 3, 2012 National Stadium, Tokyo
2013 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1–0 Kashiwa Reysol February 23, 2013
2014 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2–0 Yokohama F. Marinos February 22, 2014
2015 Gamba Osaka 2–0 Urawa Red Diamonds February 28, 2015 Nissan Stadium, Yokohama

Since the Emperor’s Cup winners, Yokohama Flügels, had been disbanded, the runners-up, Shimizu S-Pulse, qualified for the competition.
The same club had won both the J. League and the Emperor’s Cup in the previous year; therefore, the runners-up of the Cup qualified for the competition.

“There are no guarantees that we are going to win matches or titles. We have to keep our feet on the ground,” said Moriyasu to the Japan Times last month. “Getting results in all the games we had one after another in December has been a good simulation for us.”

Yoshito [Okubo] and I are whipping up excitement in the J. League. Hopefully I will be the first one to break the record,” added Sanfrecce striker Hisato Sato. The club will be bolstered by the addition of Peter Utaka, a Nigerian trigger man on loan from Shimizu S-Pulse.

“Players put in a firm display today. New players performed better than I was expecting,” said Hasegawa to the Japan Times after Gamba defeated Nagoya Grampus 2-1 at their new stadium, Suita City Football Stadium.

“The pitch is close to the seats and there’s that atmosphere too,” said Gamba midfielder Yasuhito Endo, a former Japan international. “If we get as many (spectators) every game, it’ll be a fantastic stadium.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. JST/8:35 p.m. PT/11:35 p.m. ET. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the Fuji Xerox Super Cup 2015 between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Gamba Osaka.

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  • At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
  • At least four cards will be issued.
  • Hisato Sato will score for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
  • Brazilian Patric will score for Gamba Osaka.
  • Takashi Usami will score for Gamba Osaka.
  • Masaaki Higashiguchi will make at least four saves.
  • Takuto Hayashi will make under six saves.
  • Yoshito Okubo will score for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
  • Peter Utaka will score for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
  • No goals will be scored in the first 10 minutes.

This will be a victory for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, as they get some payback for losing to Gamba in the Emperor’s Cup semifinals. It will be a high-scoring affair and this contest will also be a key tuneup game to AFC Champions League play later this month.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3, Gamba Osaka 2

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