Team Manager Mischa attends post-match interview session   

Comment from Team Manager Mischa after the AFC Champions League Group Stage MD3 match against Guangzhou Evergrande

As I had predicted during the pre-match press conference yesterday, the match we had today turned out to be a very tough match played by two formidable teams.

We started the match not too badly. However, we allowed our opponent the opportunity for a penalty kick after four minutes into the match. As a result, we were a little agitated after that. Guangzhou Evergrande started to put us under pressure aggressively after they scored the first goal. Our team struggled to compete well against our opponent team around the ball and we lost our second goal to them. However, it was fortunate for us to be able to score a goal as a result of our opponent’s goal keeper making a mistake during a corner kick.

During the meeting we had just before the match, I told the team that we had to be very careful about set plays. This is because home teams are often given penalty kick opportunities during set plays. For this reason, I had told our players to be very careful. When two teams fight against each other while running set plays like we did today, making a judgement call for a foul can be very controversial. This is something very much left up to the referees’ discretion. Though I told the team to be careful, what we didn’t want to see happened today. However, when things like this happen while playing soccer, I think things will balance out eventually. For this reason, I believe, our team was able to score a goal with a corner kick.

Today’s match must have put enormous pressure on Guangzhou Evergrande but at the same time, there must have been a big pressure placed on the referees of the match as well.

After we scored a goal and the result became two to one, we changed our attack formation a little. We positioned three players at the back, five players in the front and one player each on both sides for making attacks. As a result, we were able to develop and play the game in a calmer manner from around 15 minutes before the end of the first half of the match.

As for the second half of the match, I believe our team was able to play more aggressively than our opponent team. As a result, we created several opportunities where we could have scored another goal before we caught up with our opponent team. The second goal we scored was made possible as a result of us making attacks courageously. I also think we were doing better than our opponent in terms of stamina as well. The fact that we were able to catch up with our opponent with the score of two to two in the end means that the efforts our players put into the match was rewarded. We will play the next MD4 match against Guangzhou Evergrande again but in our home stadium. There is no doubt that the next match will also be another challenging and difficult match for us. Guangzhou Evergrande’s foreign players, more specifically the number 9 and 11 are very capable players of high quality. So, we expect a very difficult match again.

I could refer to our group as a deadly group as three out of four teams in our group won the AFC Champions League title before. Sydney FC won against Pohang Steelers today and they are leading our group with 6 points while both Urawa Reds and Pohang Steelers are on 4 points while Guangzhou Evergrande is on 2 points. It is impossible to tell which team will win and will go to the next stage at this point. But, one thing that is certain is that the group stage we are going through is a very challenging one.
[Urawa Reds Official Media (URD:OM)]

Team Manager Mischa attends post-match interview session