Gamba Osaka manager Kenta Hasegawa is eyeing revenge against Sanfrecce Hiroshima ahead of Saturday’s Fuji Xerox Super Cup clash.
Defending J.League champions Sanfrecce defeated eventual Emperor’s Cup winners Gamba in the league Championship, pipping the former holders to the title.
Both giants will again face each other on Saturday in the annual Super Cup this weekend.
The match, which kicks off at 13:35 JST at Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium, is the traditional curtain-raiser for the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League campaign.
Ahead of the encounter, managers and players from both clubs spoke at the J.League’s 2016 press conference on Thursday:
Hajime Moriyasu (Manager, Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
“I’m delighted to be participating in the FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP. We’re going to apply everything we’ve gained in training to this match.
“We faced Gamba Osaka in last year’s J.League Championship, but that result doesn’t guarantee anything. What’s important is that we continue to build on what we’ve done until now.
“Gamba are without doubt a strong team and this match will be an important forecast of the season. But we’ve done our homework on them and we want to play our style and set the pace for this season.”
Toshihiro Aoyama (Midfielder, Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
“We played well against Gamba last season and I hope that we can start off this season with an exciting first match.
“We both have our own styles; this will be a battle of those styles and we want to take this match seriously. (The Super Cup) has been a good omen for us and we want to win it and bring it back to Hiroshima.”
Kenta Hasegawa (Manager, Gamba Osaka)
“I hope that a great game against a great opponent will help us bring more interest to this competition.
“We were left with a lot of regrets after last year’s J.League Championship. This year we’re going to have many opportunities to play in crucial matches, and in this first encounter we want to win and start our season with a strong momentum.
“We’re not thinking about defending the (Super Cup); we’re just concerned with winning. We want to defeat the J.League champions and start on a good note. We’re thinking about how we can improve on last year. We want to assert our presence both in Asia and the J.League.”
Keisuke Iwashita (Defender, Gamba Osaka)
“Just like last season, we want to work hard to win this first title of the year. We’ve brought in several good attacking players and want everyone to see Gamba-style football.
“We won last year’s Super Cup and we want to win this year’s too as it will put us on track for next week’s AFC Champions League match.”