Preview: Newcastle Jets v Nagoya Grampus
Newcastle is right in the hunt to be just the second Australian team to progress through to the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League.
Newcastle Jets v Nagoya Grampus Date: Wednesday April 22 Kick-off (AEST): 8:00pm AEDT Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, TV coverage: Fox Sports 3 (Live)
Results so far: Newcastle: Beijing Guoan 2 Newcastle Jets 0, Beijing Workers Stadium, March 10 Newcastle Jets 2, Ulsan Hyundai 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium, March 17 Nagoya Grampus 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Mizho Athletic Stadium, April 7
Nagoya: Ulsan Hyundai 1, Nagoya Grampus 3, Ulsan Mansu Stadium, March 10 Nagoya Grampus 0, Beijing Guoan 0, Mizuho Athletic Stadium, March 17 Nagoya Grampus 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Mizho Athletic Stadium, April 7
Analysis: Newcastle is right in the hunt to be just the second Australian team to progress through to the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League and a home win against J-League outfit Nagoya will go a long way to securing that ambition.
The Jets have been terrific in their past two games, defeating Ulsan Hyundai and then taking a 1-0 lead in the away game against Wednesday's opponents, before a second half equaliser saw them return home with a share of the points.
Buoyed by that performance, Gary van Egmond goes into the match boosted by the return of dynamic attacking midfielder Fabio Vignaroli, while Jason Hoffman and Sean Rooney are also back from injury.
Newcastle will be without Ljubo Milicevic and Adam D'Apuzzo, who are both suspended.
Newcastle currently trails Nagoya, the Group E leader, by one point, with Beijing Guoan also on four points and Ulsan Hyundai another point behind. Any of the four could progress and a Jets win here would put them in prime position heading into the final two rounds.
The Jets' record at EnergyAustralia Stadium of recent times is very strong and they have won three of their past four matches at the ground if you take into account the end of the A-League season.
Nagoya, which would have been disappointed with its efforts in the first match between the two sides, is likely to be without Japanese international Keiji Tamada, the scorer of the equaliser in that match, who has an ankle injury. Naoshi Nakamura and Brazilian midfielder Magnum have been cleared and are fit to play.
Nagoya, currently sixth in the J-League table, won 2-1 on the weekend against Kashima Reysol thanks to two goals from Brazilian striker Davi, who is in great recent form having scored six goals in as many matches.
The visitors would have used that draw two weeks ago to get very familiar with Newcastle and there will be very little van Egmond can do to surprise. But he'll have to back his attacking players, in particularly Sasho Petrovski, to get the job done and secure a vital three points.