0 Min: FC Tokyo are guaranteed a place in the Round of 16 if they can avoid defeat by two or more goals against Queensland outfit Brisbane Roar, and they will be confident of progressing to the latter stages of the AFC Champions League in today’s Group F Matchday 5 fixture at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
While the Roar’s domestic form sees them just two points off the top of the Hyundai A-League table, they are yet to win in this competition, two draws and two losses to show for their efforts including a 2-0 defeat to the Gas at home on the opening day of the tournament. FC Tokyo are aiming to take all three points and retain their lead at the top of the table, and provided second-placed Ulsan Hyundai do not beat Beijing Guoan by an aggregate of more than four goals in today’s other Group F tie, will then require just a single point against their South Korean rivals on 16 May to secure a home berth in the next round.
I’ll have team news for you very shortly.
0 Min: FC Tokyo – Gonda; Tokunaga, Morishige, Jang, Mukuhara; Takahashi, Hasegawa, Kajiyama, Hanyu, Yazawa; Watanabe
Substitutes – Shiota; Ota; Yonemoto, Kawano, Ishikawa; Shigematsu, Lucas
0 Min: Brisbane Roar – Theoklitos; Smith, Stefanutto, Franjic, Adnan; Paartalu, Brattan, Broich; Berisha, Meyer, Fitzgerald
Substitutes – Redmayne; Jurman, Mundy; Murocca, Nichols, Joseph; Danning
0 Min: It’s a wet and breezy night in Tokyo, the several thousand souls braving the conditions at the National Stadium tonight sheltering under umbrellas and plastic raincoats, to watch a match overseen by Qatari referee Abdullah Balideh.
0 Min: FC Tokyo fans are singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as the players await the signal to exit the tunnel and walk on to the pitch.
0 Min: Captains Yohei Kajiyama and Matthew Smith exchange club pennants at the coin toss, and we’re almost ready for kick-off. Kajiyama and Kazuma Watanabe are on the halfway line ready for Abdullah Balideh’s whistle.
0 Min: And just on 11:30 BST/19:30 JST, the match commences.
2 Mins: A through ball from Besart Berisha nearly finds James Meyer after Hideto Takahashi is robbed in the midfield, but the ball skids through on this slippery surface to Shuichi Gonda.
4 Mins: GOAL! An unexpected opening to this match, as Thomas Broich swings a free-kick across the penalty area, Besart Berisha powering a heading against the right post, and reacting first to thrash the rebound home. Very poor defending from the Gas, which could have seen one of three Roar players score.
4 Mins: FC Tokyo 0 Brisbane Roar 1
5 Mins: GOAL! Hideto Takahashi makes up for his earlier mistake and FC Tokyo immediately reply. The midfielder picks up a rebound on the edge of the penalty area after Yohei Kajiyama’s initial effort is blocked, and drives a low shot into the net via the left upright.
5 Mins: FC Tokyo 1 Brisbane Roar 1
8 Mins: After a frenzied opening five minutes, this game has settled, both sides probing for openings in midfield.
9 Mins: Yohei Kajiyama bursts strongly through midfield, and with Tatsuya Yazawa in space in the left channel, the pass is slightly overhit in difficult conditions, forcing Yazawa wide. His cross is easily dealt with by the Roar defence.
13 Mins: FC Tokyo doing a commendable job of containing the Roar to their own half, and are at this stage much more comfortable in possession. A period of passing within Roar territory ends in a Naotake Hanyu attempt from 22 yards, which bounces through to Theoklitos between the Roar posts.
19 Mins: GOAL! Aria Hasegawa makes a superb break from midfield, breaking three challenges and playing a pass to Tatsuya Yazawa on the Tokyo right. Yazawa’s low ball is into Kenta Mukuhara’s path, and he drives into the bottom left corner to give the Gas the lead.
19 Mins: FC Tokyo 2 Brisbane Roar 1
23 Mins: Very large gaps are appearing between the Roar’s defence and midfield, and with FC Tokyo’s forwards pressing high up the pitch, they are finding it difficult to link play and instead regularly resorting to long balls.
27 Mins: Excellent work from Kajiyama, dispossessing a Brisbane midfielder before striding 15 yards with the ball, but his cross is too strong for Watanabe and bounces harmlessly through for a goal kick.
29 Mins: Aria Hasegawa is heavily involved in midfield play, and the ball eventually wends its way to Yohei Kajiyama. His cross is blocked by Franjic, and its the first corner of this match to FC Tokyo.
30 Mins: Takahashi makes a header from Yazawa’s corner, but its a difficult angle and it clears Theoklitos’s bar.
31 Mins: With thity minutes played in the first period, and despite going behind, it has been reasonably comfortable for the Gas. FC Tokyo 2 Brisbane Roar 1
33 Mins: GOAL! With FC Tokyo looking to an offside flag from the assistant referee which never appeared, Thomas Broich continues his run, his first effort blocked by Kenta Mukuhara, but finding the bottom left corner via the ankle of Jang Hyun-Soo from the rebound.
33 Mins: FC Tokyo 2 Brisbane Roar 2
35 Mins: Suichi Gonda makes two saves in quick succession, a long range effort from distance resulting in a fine punch away to his right.
35 Mins: Gonda nearly undoes all his good work, fumbling his catch from the resulting corner, and needing to dive on the ball to gather. Nicholas Fitzgerald is then penalised for kicking the ball out of his hands on the ground.
40 Mins: Tatsuya Yazawa is tripped by Mohamed Adnan close to the Brisbane Roar touchline. Hasegawa makes a clever run drawing back towards the eighteen yard line in a packed penalty area. Yazawa’s pull back finds the midfielder, but his shot clears the angle.
43 Mins: PENALTY! Adman is wrongly adjudged to have brought down Watanabe inside the penalty box when contact is clearly a yard outside the area, and Watanabe steps up to send the ball into the bottom right corner. A fine spot kick, Theoklitos diving the wrong way, and the Gas once again have the advantage.
43 Mins: FC Tokyo 3 Brisbane Roar 2
45 Mins: An attempt from the halfway line by Hasegawa sails over the crossbar, and that’s the last action of a goal-packed first period as Balideh blows his whistle.
HT: FC Tokyo 3 Brisbane Roar 2
HT: It seems likely that this match is destined for more goals. These are difficult playing conditions for two teams needing a victory for different reasons, and both sides look capable of scoring any time they go forward.
HT: The teams are back out on the pitch, the rain still unrelenting.
45 Mins: And the second period begans. Can FC Tokyo retain this vital lead?
46 Mins: The Gas force a corner after 30 seconds, but Yazawa’s dangerous ball is dealt with well by the Brisbane defence.
47 Mins: A delightful long pass from Hasegawa nearly finds Hanyu, but the bounce on this wet surface is too strong and it’s through to Theoklitos.
49 Mins: Pranjic makes a good break and prods a pass through to Broich, but with the ball running away from him, he can only make a weak sliding effort across the angle from the right which Gonda saves easily.
51 Mins: A deeply cynical challenge from Fitzgerald on Takahashi off the ball doesn’t result in any punishment for the forward.
54 Mins: Popovic is his typical expressive self on the sidelines, as he watches Yohei Tokunaga break up play deep in the Roar’s half. An excellent challenge from the right-back enables him to drive into the opposition’s penalty area, but his cross doesn’t find a Gas shirt.
59 Mins: GOAL! Kazuma Watanabe gives the hosts a two goal cushion, running through on to a beautiful through ball from Tatsuya Yazawa which curled perfectly into his path, and he slides a low finish past Theoklitos at the near post from 10 yards. FC Tokyo’s domination of this half has been rewarded.
59 Mins: FC Tokyo 4 Brisbane Roar 2
63 Mins: Should this result stay the same, it will continue the awful sequence of results on Japanese soil for Australian teams, who have drawn just twice and lost all their other games in AFC Champions League fixtures.
63 Mins: A pair of substitutions for the visitors, as they attempt to quickly find a way back into this match. Luke Brattan and James Meyer leave the field, replaced by Rocco Visconte and Mitch Daniels respectively.
65 Mins: A timely interception from Tasuya Yazawa ensures a cross into the penalty area doesn’t reach Shane Stefannuto. The subsequent corner eventually finds Mitch Nichols after a clever pass from Matthew Smith, but the substitute fires high and wide.
68 Mins: Another corner for Brisbane, Besart Berisha just beaten to Broich’s driven cross by Shuichi Gonda to clear. A poor set piece is then cleared past halfway by the Gas. Manager Radomir Vidosic makes his final substitution for the Roar, Matthew Jurman on for Mohamed Adnan.
72 Mins: It looks as if Lucas is going to be brought on for the last 15 minutes in the first of Ranko Popovic’s substitutions.
73 Mins: Kazuma Watanabe’s hopes of a hat-trick are ended, as he’s brought off for the Brazilian forward.
75 Mins: It’s an energetic introduction from Lucas, who wins two throw-ins in quick succession on the Gas left.
75 Mins: A lovely passing move between Hasegawa, Lucas, and Yohei Kajiyama is brought to an end seemingly by an infringement, but referee Balideh waves away protests from Gas players. It’s one of a number of rough challenges made by both sets of players that the official has deemed not worthy of a free kick.
77 Mins: Takuji Yonemoto is on the field before Tatsuya Yazawa delivers a corner from the right. Lucas heads, but his connection isn’t clean and it’s into Franjic’s back. The Roar eventually scramble the ball clear.
80 Mins: Ten minutes left and with the away team being forced back into their own half once more, it’s FC Tokyo 4 Brisbane Roar 2.
82 Mins: Having introduced Takuji Yonemoto for Naotake Hanyu four minutes ago, Popovic will shortly make his final substitution, Naohiro Ishikawa warming up.
85 Mins: Yohei Kajiyama makes way for Ishikawa.
86 Mins: The match is quietly coming to an end. Little of note occurring as the Gas tighten up in midfield to draw the life out of the contest.
88 Mins: Broich, who has been the Roar’s best player, evades three strong challenges, any one of which was worthy of a free-kick, and then the frustrated midfielder throws his hands in the air as he loses possession and no whistle is blown.
90 Mins: Three extra minutes will be played in this match, but first must defend a corner.
90 Mins+1: The corner is taken short, and then passed to the edge of the area to Ivan Franjic. The defender slices his effort, however, and it dribbles behind for a goal kick.
90 Mins+3: CROSSBAR! In the dying seconds of the game, a cross from the Brisbane right beats Gonda, who is grateful that it rebounds back off the crossbar and away.
90 Mins+3: And that’s the last action of the match as Balideh blows his whistle.
FT: FC Tokyo 4 Brisbane Roar 2
FT: A comfortable win in the end for FC Tokyo, but the defensive weakenesses of Ranko Popovic’s side were once more on display in this match. Ulsan Hyundai are currently leading 2-0 at the Workers Stadium in Beijing versus Guoan, and as such the Gas will need to pick up at least a point in South Korea to win Group F.
FT: Thank you for joining me. A match report will follow on the website shortly.