Shanghai SIPG may suffer on trip to Kawasaki Frontale
Kawasaki are virtually unbeatable at home
Kawasaki v Shanghai SIPG
Group F, 10am Tuesday
Two sides who shared the distinction of being ousted by Urawa Red Diamonds last year clash in the stand-out encounter from the opening round of AFC Champions League group games.
Kawasaki Frontale were undone by compatriots Urawa in the quarter-finals before the Japanese aces took care of Shanghai SIPG in the semis.
Kawasaki recovered from the disappointment of that last-eight exit by going on to claim a maiden J-League crown and they can get off to a winning start in 2018 against their Chinese rivals.
Shanghai, as one of the Chinese Super League powers, have money to burn and their expensively-assembled squad are expected to be a force once more in the Champions League.
Record signing Oscar makes them tick and 31-year-old Hulk enjoyed a blistering end to 2017 as the Shanghai club claimed second spot in the league.
Andre Villas-Boas, the man who led them to the runners-up berth, has been replaced by another Portuguese in Vitor Pereira, and they were decent enough squeezing past Thai team Chiangrai in the playoff round. The scoreline was 1-0 but the Chinese outfit had nine shots on target and utterly bossed affairs.
This, though, will be a completely different challenge at a buzzing Todoroki Stadium where the Japanese were virtually unbeatable last term, losing just one of 17 in the league and none of five in the Champions League.
1pt 13-10 bet365, BetBright, BoyleSports
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