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J1 League | Gameweek 19
Jun 22, 2024 at 11am UK
Saitama Stadium 2002

2 - 2
Kashima Antlers

Takeda (77', 90+2')
Hoibraten (13'), Scholz (57')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Suzuki (3', 42')
Chinen (59')

Preview: Urawa Red Diamonds vs. Kashima Antlers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's J1 League clash between Urawa Red Diamonds and Kashima Antlers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With their sights set on top spot in the J1 League table, Kashima Antlers will travel to the Saitama Stadium to take on Urawa Red Diamonds on Saturday.

The visitors trail league leaders Machida Zelvia by two points after a draw last time out, while their hosts have dropped to 10th spot in the midst of a four-match winless streak.

Match preview

At the halfway stage of the campaign, Urawa Red Diamonds will set out to correct their J1 League form on Saturday, having dropped well behind the leading pack as a result of a tough run of form in recent weeks.

After a fourth-placed finish last time around, the Red Devils did enjoy a pleasing start to the 2024 season, culminating in consecutive victories over Yokohama F Marinos, Albirex Niigata and Kyoto Sanga in May to take their tally to 23 points from 14 outings, having won seven of those while suffering five defeats.

Per-Mathias Hogmo's side have been unable to continue that form since, though, now finding themselves winless in the last four attempts having firstly been held to a 1-1 draw away at Jubilo Iwata before suffering an agonising 2-1 defeat at home to leaders Machida Zelvia as Hokuto Shimoda netted the decisive goal from the penalty spot in the 96th minute.

Then on the back of a 1-1 draw with Vissel Kobe thanks to Shoya Nakajima's second-half leveller, the Red Devils most recently visited Cerezo Osaka on Saturday and left empty-handed, falling three points behind their opponents owing to a 2-1 defeat having failed to find a leveller after Bryan Linssen halved their two-goal deficit 13 minutes from time.

As a result of their sharp dip in form in recent weeks, Urawa Red Diamonds now find themselves 10th in Japan's top flight, three points behind sixth and seventh spots and two behind eighth and ninth, and they will be keen to move back into the mix with a much-needed return to winning ways to end their rut at the halfway stage of the campaign this weekend.

That will be no easy task, though, as the visitors arrive aiming to extend a nine-match league unbeaten streak and move to the summit of the division on Saturday.

In search of a ninth J1 League title in their history and a first since 2016, Kashima Antlers endured a disappointing start to the campaign, collecting 13 points from their first nine outings, but they have since inserted themselves into the fight for top spot with an eye-catching upturn in form.

Indeed, in the nine league matches since, Ranko Popovic's side have gone unbeaten while managing seven victories, with the first of only two blemishes being a 3-3 draw with Tokyo Verdy in which they were pegged back after leading 3-0, only to bounce back in style with four more consecutive triumphs over Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Vissel Kobe, Consadole Sapporo and Yokohama F Marinos.

Those results saw them head into last weekend level on points with leaders Machida Zelvia, but Popovic's side failed to capitalise and make it five three-point hauls on the bounce, instead falling behind having only managed a share of the spoils in a draw with Albirex Niigata as Tomoya Fujii drew them level early in the second half after Yota Komi's opener for the visitors.

Now trailing top spot by two points again, but with plenty of confidence and momentum to bring into the weekend from their nine-match unbeaten streak, across which they have scored 21 goals and only conceded 10, Kashima Antlers will bid to bridge the gap to first place with a return to winning ways on Saturday.

Urawa Red Diamonds J1 League form:

Kashima Antlers J1 League form:

Team News

Urawa Red Diamonds will likely remain without important midfielder Samuel Gustafson due to an ongoing injury issue, meaning Per-Mathias Hogmo may again field Kaito Yasui, Ken Iwao and Atsuki Ito in the centre of their 4-3-3 shape.

Thiago Santana is bound to again spearhead the attack, having notched up a team-high tally of seven J1 League goals so far this term, while Naoki Maeda and Tomoaki Okubo will fight to keep their spots on the wings.

Marius Hoibraten is a mainstay for the Red Devils and will continue in the middle of a back four, likely alongside the returning Alexander Scholz, who should retake his starting spot from Yota Sato after serving a suspension last time out.

Kashima Antlers may be unable to call on attacker Aleksandar Cavric on Saturday, after he entered the fray at half time last time out against Albirex Niigata and was forced off late in the game.

Winger Tomoya Fujii also came off the bench in that game and will fight for a starting spot after netting their leveller, while Yuma Suzuki is bound to lead the line having netted eight goals in 18 league appearances so far this term.

Elsewhere, Kei Chinen and Kaishu Sano should again line up at the base of the midfield in their 4-2-3-1 setup, while Ikuma Sekigawa and Naomichi Ueda will continue to partner up in the middle of the defence.

Urawa Red Diamonds possible starting lineup:
Nishikawa; Ishihara, Hoibraten, Scholz, Watanabe; Yasui, Iwao, Ito; Maeda, Santana, Okubo

Kashima Antlers possible starting lineup:
Hayakawa; Nono, Ueda, Sekigawa, Anzai; Sano, Chinen; Fujii, Shibasaki, Morooka; Suzuki

SM words green background

We say: Urawa Red Diamonds 0-2 Kashima Antlers

While Kashima Antlers did lose ground in the title race last weekend, they do still head into Saturday's meeting with plenty of momentum in the midst of a growing unbeaten streak, and we see them having too much quality for an Urawa Red Diamonds side stuck in somewhat of a rut.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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rhs 2.0
Today's games header
Tables header RHS
1Machida Zelvia24154537191849
2Gamba OsakaGamba Osaka24135628181044
3Kashima AntlersKashima Antlers2413563930944
4Vissel KobeVissel Kobe24126637211642
5Sanfrecce HiroshimaHiroshima23910439241537
6Cerezo OsakaCerezo2491053226637
7FC Tokyo2410683532336
8Avispa Fukuoka249872322135
9Tokyo Verdy2481063236-434
10Urawa Red DiamondsUrawa249693934533
11Yokohama F MarinosYokohama2495103737032
12Nagoya GrampusNagoya Grampus2494112729-231
13Kashiwa ReysolReysol247893036-629
14Kawasaki FrontaleKawasaki2461083535028
15Albirex Niigata2477103237-528
16Shonan BellmareShonan Bellmare2467113438-425
17Kyoto Sanga2467112238-1625
18Jubilo Iwata2466123040-1024
19Sagan Tosu2372143040-1023
20Consadole SapporoConsadole2436152147-2615

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