Niwa targets another Treble as Gamba learn Nabisco Cup opponents

Niwa targets another Treble as Gamba learn Nabisco Cup opponents

Gamba Osaka defender Daiki Niwa targeted another Yamazaki Nabisco Cup win after his team were drawn to face Nagoya Grampus in the quarter-finals.

The pair face off in the clash which take place on September 2 and 6, with the cup holders hosting the first leg at Expo '70 Commemorative Stadium.

And Niwa, who was part of the side that clinched the trophy last November on the way to a historic domestic Treble, believes defending their trophy can spur them to similar heights this season.

“Last season we won this tournament and went on to win the league and the Emperor’s Cup. I want to win all three titles again this year,” the 29-year-old commented on Monday.

“This can be the first of three [trophies] so we have to keep winning and defend our crown.”

Nevertheless, Niwa insisted the Grampus threat was not to be taken lightly, although he remained confident of Gamba’s chances.

“When I think of Grampus, I think of Kengo Kawamata, Kensuke Nagai, Milivoje Novakovic, Marcus Tulio Tanaka, and Seigo Narazaki,” he continued.

“Akira Nishino is our former manager, but we’re not playing against their coaches. We must not concern ourselves with that, and play well against their team.”

Grampus forward Kawamata revealed the respect felt for their upcoming opponents was mutual and singled out Japan counterpart Takashi Usami as Gamba’s main threat, amongst others.

“Gamba as a team have a lot of very gifted players, including my former team-mate Masaaki Higashiguchi, who is there,” the 25-year-old said. “I’m looking forward to facing him.

“I think we have to watch out for Hiroyuki Abe, because we’re both the same age (laughs). Should I say Usami instead? Okay, we have to watch out for Usami.”