Hasegawa: Gamba want Champions League win

Hasegawa: Gamba want Champions League win

Gamba Osaka manager Kenta Hasegawa’s has confirmed his side’s goal is to win the AFC Champions League this season.

The Japanese champions are preparing to face Chinese counterparts Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League semi-final clash on Wednesday.

And Hasegawa insists his men deserve to be there despite seeing Gamba go without a win in their first three group stage games, and are now targeting to win the competition.

“We got off to a poor start in this tournament and were backed into a corner,” the 50-year-old, who led the Kansai side to a domestic Treble last season, told reporters. 

“But as a team we rose up and played like every match could be our last, and that’s how we got here. 

“Our goal is therefore to win the tournament.”

Hasegawa will not be in the dugout at Tianhe Stadium, however, after being shown a red card for his excessive celebrations in Gamba’s 3-2 quarter-final win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

Nevertheless, he does not feel his resulting suspension for Wednesday will overly impact his team, stating: “I don’t think me being on the bench [or not] has any significant effect on the result. 

“Head coach [Tomohiro] Katanosaka will be giving directions, but it’s the players who are out on the pitch. 

“We have a lot of great players who can sense what’s happening on the ground and correct their movements as necessary.

“Takashi Usami [who was suspended for the quarter-final] will bring his usual attacking prowess and scoring ability. 

“Daiki Niwa will be suspended, but throughout this competition we’ve had players injured or suspended and whenever that happened we fought as a team.”