Aoyama says Sanfrecce could have aimed for more

Aoyama says Sanfrecce could have aimed for more

Toshihiro Aoyama expressed his disappointment with Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s third-placed finish at the Club World Cup.

The Japanese champions saw off Chinese counterparts Guangzhou Evergrande 2-1 on Sunday despite going a goal down inside the third minute, roaring back to win through Douglas’ late double. 

But Aoyama was still upset that they missed the chance to face Barcelona in the final after their semi-final loss to River Plate.

“I’m not satisfied with third place,” the captain told reporters after the victory over Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men. “I wanted us to go even further. 

“It was a disappointing tournament. If we’re satisfied with this result, this is as far as we’ll ever go. I’m happy we won the third place match, but I wanted to play in the final. 

“We were able to beat Guangzhou Evergrande, but the AFC Champions League and Club World Cup are two different competitions, and we had home advantage. 

“But we played well even with a busy schedule, and even though we lost in the semi-final we fought until the very end. 

“That’s how we played all season and that’s proof that we can continue to play like that. That’s our strength, and I hope we continue to show it next year.”

Sanfrecce will now turn their attentions to their Emperor’s Cup quarter-final tie with FC Tokyo this Saturday.