Sanfrecce Hiroshima edge past Auckland City in CWC opener

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Sanfrecce Hiroshima

The newly-crowned J.League title holders qualified for the quarter-finals of the with a 2-0 victory over Auckland City in Yokohama on Thursday.

A goal in each half from Yusuke Minagawa and Tsukasa Shiotani sent Sanfrecce Hiroshima through over the New Zealand giants to face African champions TP Mazembe on Sunday in Osaka.

“We expected it to be tough, we expected them to have more of the ball, so we knew we’d have to defend well and make our possession count and I think we did that,” Sanfrecce coach Hajime Moriyasu told reporters.

“I’d agree that the timing of our opening goal was crucial, as it allowed us to play to our strengths – the counter attack.

“We played as we did during the J. League season and that was pleasing for me to see. Obviously, we to be more attacking and score more, but the three injuries affected our rhythm,” he added.

“However, despite the changes, I felt we were in control of the game. Tonight, we proved our class.”

Meanwhile, Sanfrecce’s Brazilian forward Douglas, who was named as the man of the match also revealed his excitement on the victory and hoping to achieve the best result in the end of tournament.

“I’m honoured to receive this award, but we’re one team and that’s our biggest strength. I think we deserved the win tonight,” the on-loan player from Tokushima Vortis said.

“We showed how good the J. League can be on the global stage. We’re looking forward to the next game – and hopefully winning it.