Pohang Steelers vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima – home win at 13/10.
Reigning champions Pohang Steelers lost their opening game at Adelaide United, which wasn’t the best start to defending their crown. However, where the Korean side are strongest is at home where they’ve won their last five home games in the Asian Champions League consecutively, avoiding defeat in all but one of their home games in this competition ever! The only side to win here was Adelaide United, ironically – Pohang Steelers really don’t like this side! Pohang Steelers have gone from strength to strength in this competition and will be looking to further their impressive home record by adding the name of Sanfrecce Hiroshima to a list that already contains millionaires Bunyodkor, Tianjin Teda, and Central Coast Mariners to name a few.
Visitors Sanfrecce Hiroshima compete in their very first Asian Champions League competition and it showed as they were beaten 1-0 at home in their opening game against Chinese outfit Shandong Luneng. This is a real learning curve for Sanfrecce Hiroshima and unfortunately for the Japanese side there aren’t many tougher away games than Pohang Steelers in this competition currently. The defeat will have concerned Sanfrecce Hiroshima but surely not as much as their lack of goals scored in that game? In this competition, you simply must score goals at home to have any chance of progressing because this competition can make you travel approximately 3000 miles if you’re unfortunate to draw a side that far away – not the kind of game you can enter lightly. I think Sancfrecce’s lack of potency and experience in this competition will hit them hard and they’ll most likely succumb to defeat in South Korea today.
Pohang Steelers have developed experience and maturity very rapidly in this competition and should have too much for their opponents today. Sanfrecce Hiroshima not only failed to impress in their opening Asian Champions League game but also drew their opening game of the J-League at home to Shimizu S-Pulse – a poor result by their standards – so I expect a disgruntled and inexperienced Sanfrecce Hiroshima to lose today at what are rather generous odds.
Verdict: Pohang Steelers to win at 13/10.