conference after the match against Guangzhou Evergrande FC  

Comment from Team Manager Tsuyoshi Otsuki and Player Shinzo Koroki after the AFC Champions League 2019 Knockout Stage Semi-final 2nd Leg Match against Guangzhou Evergrande FC

Comment from Tsuyoshi Otsuki

We are very pleased that we seized the opportunity to play in the ACL final. I came here to speak at the pre-match press conference with Koroki yesterday. I am glad that we are here together again to speak to you. So many fans and supporters came all the way here to show us their support. Thanks to their bolstering, we were able to reach a higher level. I am so grateful for their kind support. I am also proud of our players’ performance, too. We want to win the next match to seize such great things again.

Comment from Shinzo Koroki

We played three times in this stadium in the past since I joined Urawa Reds and we won the match played here for the first time today. Nearly one thousand fans and supporters came to the stadium to bolster us today. I really wanted to give them the gift of us moving to the final. I am glad that we were able to achieve the goal and give such a gift to our fans and supporters today.

We won the first leg match with the result of 2 to 0 but I knew today’s match would be a difficult match. Thanks to our good defense team, our team defended ourselves well with our opponent scoring 0 goals while we scored one by making the most of few chances we created. I believe that being able to win a match played in this stadium today boosted our confidence too.

As for the J. League, since we are currently in a difficult position, I want to switch our mind quickly to focus on the next J. League match.

Questions and Answers

Q: This question is for both Team Manager Otsuki and Player Koroki. Looking at the two matches, what do you think were the points that made it possible for your team to break through to the final?

Shinzo Koroki: When Guangzhou Evergrande FC won the ACL quarter-final against Kashima Antlers, I heard Guangzhou Team Manager Fabio Cannavaro say that they could win the ACL title since they were able to win against Kashima Antlers. I saw him make this comment on the news and his comment ignited us to do well to win the match against them no matter what. I am afraid that this comment was one of the reasons for Guangzhou’s defeat.

Tsuyoshi Otsuki: We played the first leg match in our home stadium and the second leg match as an away match. Having won the first leg match thanks to our fans and supporters’ great support in our home stadium and having managed to finish today’s match with a zero score from our opponent team were the reasons we made it through to the final. I trust such developments put Guangzhou Evergrande in a difficult position. Based on this, we chose to play a defensive game and scored a goal first. I thought the match virtually ended when we scored the goal first. I discussed with my team what we should anticipate and how our opponent would play. In a big stadium like this one, it is difficult for us to verbally communicate with each other. But, our players worked together as a unified team and pulled out excellent performance by making good judgements on the pitch. I must say that having the great support from our fans and supporters as well as the great performance of our players made it possible for us to break through to the final.

Q: This question is for Koroki. You mentioned that you saw Guangzhou Evergrande Team Manager making a comment that their team could win the ACL title after their win against Kashima Antlers. Could you tell us what media reported his comment?

Shinzo Koroki: I don’t clearly remember where I saw that but all Urawa Reds players were aware of the comment Team Manager Cannavaro made. Hearing about this ignited us all and I was determined that we would definitely win against Guangzhou Evergrande.

Q: This question is for Team Manager Otsuki. You mentioned that Guangzhou Evergrande’s member line up and formation were within your expectation. But, their No 33 player Yihao Zhong is not their regular member. Were you expecting him to be in the team also?

Tsuyoshi Otsuki: Their No 21 player (Zhunyi Gao) was suffering from an injury. In addition to that, when we had the opportunity to observe their open official training session for 15 minutes, we saw the No 25 player (Hanwen Deng) was wearing running shoes. As this was the case, we made the assumption that he was also suffering from an injury. Based on that, we guessed that Guangzhou Evergrande had no regular side back players and anticipated who would fill in the side back position. That is how we worked out that No 33 (Yihao Zhong) would likely to be one of the players who were expected to assume the position.

Q: This question is also for Team Manager Otsuki. Urawa Reds is not doing well in the J. League this year. But, the team has achieved remarkable results in ACL by defeating China’s three big teams namely Beijing Sinobo Guoan FC, Shanghai Shanggang SIPG FC and Guangzhou Evergrande FC. What are the reasons for this? Is Urawa Reds giving more focus on ACL or J. League matches are more difficult than ACL matches? What is your feeling about this?

Tsuyoshi Otsuki: I am not sure whether this is the case that the team which is not ranked high in the J. League is doing well in ACL or the team doing well in ACL is struggling to win J. League matches. We want to go through and overcome the challenges we come across on a daily basis to get to better outcomes. However, I am afraid that we are going through a period where we are struggling to function well as a unified team.
Since there are still a few matches left to play in the J. League, we want to do well to be ranked as higher as possible in the standings. I am not prioritizing one league over another. I have a great sense of responsibility for every match our team plays, and I work together with our players to do our best in all of the matches we play. I want to work hard together with my players for the upcoming J. League match too.

[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD: OM)]

conference after the match against Guangzhou Evergrande FC conference after the match against Guangzhou Evergrande FC