Asian Champions League 2011

By on February 28, 2011

Although Nagoya Grampus clinched the top spot with games to spare, J.League 2010 ended in drama on the final day, as Gamba Osaka and Cerezo Osaka confirmed ACL places while Kashima Antlers dropped to 4th. Kashima did win the Emperor’s Cup on New Year’s Day, taking Japan’s final ACL place, but fans had to wait agonisingly for that victory!


So, in the 2011 ACL we see four teams with great credentials.


Gamba Osaka

Brazilian forward Adriano was snapped up greedily from neighbours Cerezo, and Korean import Seung-Yong Kim looks useful. The likes of Yasuhito Endo and Tomokazu Myojin will be relied upon to run the team from midfield, while the youth of Takashi Usami, Shoki Hirai and Shohei Otsuka will be looked to for goals, and the future of the team!


Gamba look to have a decent chance of coming top of Group E, against Jeju United (Korea), Tianjin Teda (China) and Melbourne Victory (Australia).

Web site:


Cerezo Osaka

Rodrigo Pimp‹o, a Brazilian coming from Vasco da Gama looks quick, Shu Kurata scored 8 from midfield for JEF United last season and will be a useful addition and, while Cerezo lost Ienaga and Adriano, the likes of Inui, Kiyotake, Maruhashi and Yamaguchi look like making a good year possible for the pink half of Osaka. In Group G with Cerezo are Jeonbuk Motors (Korea), Shandong Luneng (China) and Arema (Indonesia).

Web site:


Nagoya Grampus

New Japan international Jungo Fujimoto has jumped ship from a disintegrating S-Pulse, while Kensuke Nagai took Nagoya’s offer, after a season at Vissel Kobe – all be it on special permission from J.League and his university. Both players seem to have a bright future and can only help Nagoya’s task in targeting winning the ACL for the first time.  Up against Grampus in Group F are Hangzhou (China), Al Ain (UAE) and FC Seoul (Korea).

Web site:


Kashima Antlers

Antlers have enticed Takuya Honda from S-Pulse, as well as recalling Tashiro and Masuda from Yamagata. Defender Alex looks a useful addition, but Daigo Nishi could be the player to watch. Marquinhos is out, so expect Antlers to rely on new Brazilian forward Carlao, to gel with Shinzo Kuroki and Yuya Osaka for goals. Group H looks the toughest on paper: Shanghai (China), Sydney (Australia) and Suwon Bluewings (Korea) will make it hard for Kashima.

Web site:


Full schedule and group details for each team can be found on the AFC web site here:


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