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Saturday, March 8, 2008

J. LEAGUE 2008

TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS

Kyoto Sanga FC


Staff writer

Last season: third in J2

As the team promoted to the first division via the J1/J2 playoff, Kyoto starts the season as the automatic favorite to go straight back down.

But there are signs that the J. League's classic yo-yo club could shed that tag to gain a foothold in the top flight, and coach Hisashi Kato has made a number of interesting signings over the winter break.

Veteran defender Sidiclei returns to the club, and will form a defensive pairing with World Cup 2002 captain Ryuzo Morioka that will want for nothing in terms of experience, if not pace.

Another 2002 old boy, Atsushi Yanagisawa, may have found himself surplus to requirements at champion Kashima Antlers, but his early goalscoring form prior to breaking a foot last season suggests he still has plenty to offer at the other end of the table.

Yuto Sato also looks a useful buy from JEF United Chiba, and the continued presence of prolific striker Paulinho should deliver goals.

Kyoto is not safe from the drop by any means, but the fresh blood coming in means a surprise or two is not out of the question.



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