12:00 Niigata Albirex – Urawa Red Diamonds

The teams had very different fates in the latest round of J1 league, with Albirex Niigata gaining the precious 3 points from fellow dogfighters Vegalta Sendai. On the other hand, Stage 1 Champions Urawa Reds succumbed to a shocking 4-0 defeat to the in form Yokohama F Marinos who are on a 4 game winning streak, scoring 11 and only conceding a single goal.

In this Nabisco Cup match, Reds will be missing several players due to upcoming World Cup qualifiers. They include their goalkeeper Nishikawa, defender Makino, forward Koroki and lastly Slovenian forward Zlatan. Despite fielding a weakened squad, the manager will have a lot of prove, in hope of using this game to boost the morale of the team.

Niigata will also start this game on a good note with a positive spirit inherited from their recent victory. With the league games in at least 10 days time, I expect them to go all out in this first game cup game against under-strength opponent.

With reds backline rotating, I expect the swans to score. Urawa should also have sufficient depth in the team to give the home side a contest here.

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