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Preview: Tokyo Verdy vs. Real Sociedad - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Tokyo Verdy vs. Real Sociedad - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's friendly contest between Tokyo Verdy and Real Sociedad, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

After finishing off their La Liga campaign at the weekend, Real Sociedad play a post-season friendly with Tokyo Verdy on Wednesday.

La Real now meet the promoted J-League side, who upset reigning champions Vissel Kobe last time out, improving their chances of staying put in the Japanese top flight.

Match preview

Although their domestic season ended in defeat, Real Sociedad secured more European football for next term, having made a long-awaited Champions League return last September.

La Real's recent clash with Real Betis was effectively a playoff for sixth place in La Liga, and their 2-0 success in Seville ensured that two Basque clubs will participate in the 2024-25 Europa League - regional rivals Athletic Club have also qualified for UEFA's second-tier competition.

However, the San Sebastian side collected only 11 points from the last 24 available, partly due to a tough run of fixtures: defeats to Real Madrid and Barcelona and, most recently, Atletico Madrid showed the gap to Spain's top teams.

They have not won in nine league meetings with Atleti following Sunday's 2-0 loss on home soil, but highly-rated head coach Imanol Alguacil still has plenty to build on for next season.

His side picked up exactly 30 points both home and away this term, and they now hit the road again, making the long trip to East Asia.

Awaiting at Japan's National Stadium - in addition to many fans of La Real's Take Kubo - will be Tokyo Verdy, who recently put together an 11-game unbeaten run featuring no fewer than eight draws.

That abruptly ended earlier this month, as the capital club exited the J-League Cup to Sanfreece Hiroshima, then suffered a 5-0 thumping by surprise side Machida Zelvia, who currently top the standings.

However, Verdy reacted to that setback by stunning Japanese champions Vissel Kobe with a 1-0 away win on Sunday, by virtue of a second-half own goal.

Hiroshi Jofuku's side therefore moved up to 21 points and occupy 12th place nearing the midpoint of their comeback campaign, having finally returning to the J-League's top tier last December.

After significantly boosting their survival hopes, Verdy can now test themselves against one of Spain's elite and try to build more momentum ahead of their weekend encounter with Consadole Sapporo.

Tokyo Verdy form (all competitions):

Real Sociedad form (all competitions):

Team News

Real Sociedad will not only be without loan duo Andre Silva and Kieran Tierney, who have returned to RB Leipzig and Arsenal respectively, but several senior players have not travelled to Tokyo.

Robin Le Normand, Carlos Fernandez, Igor Zubeldia and Martin Zubimendi are all sidelined by injury, while Mikel Merino, Mikel Oyarzabal, record signing Umar Sadiq and first-choice goalkeeper Alex Remiro have all been excused from La Real's post-season trip.

Sure to be the star attraction in his home nation, Japan winger Take Kubo was the Basque club's second-top scorer in La Liga this season, just behind Oyarzabal. He is likely to support Sheraldo Becker up front on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Verdy will be without forward Ryosuke Shirai due to injury, but coach Hiroshi Jofuku should name a strong starting XI.

Captain Koki Morita will patrol central midfield, while Kashima Antlers loanee Itsuki Someno leads the line up front.

Tokyo Verdy possible starting lineup:
Vidotto; Miyahara, Chida, Tsunashima, Matsuhashi; Onaga, Morita, Inami, Miki; Someno, Kimura

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Marrero; Traore, Pacheco, Elustondo, Aramburu; Mendes, Turrientes, Zakharyan; Kubo, Becker, Barrenetxea

We say: Tokyo Verdy 1-3 Real Sociedad

While Real Sociedad are depleted by absences, they remain a class above their hosts, who were only promoted to Japan's top flight at the end of last year: Imanol Alguacil's side should score more than once and put the full stop on 2023-24 with a win.

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Premier League Table
1Machida Zelvia18122431161538
2Kashima AntlersKashima Antlers18113431201136
3Gamba OsakaGamba Osaka1810441913634
4Vissel KobeVissel Kobe18103526131333
5Sanfrecce HiroshimaHiroshima1878334191529
6Cerezo OsakaCerezo187742520528
7Avispa Fukuoka187741917228
8FC Tokyo187652826227
9Nagoya GrampusNagoya Grampus188372120127
10Urawa Red DiamondsUrawa187472825325
11Tokyo Verdy185942730-324
12Yokohama F MarinosYokohama176562826223
13Kashiwa ReysolReysol185761825-722
14Kawasaki FrontaleKawasaki185582526-120
15Albirex Niigata185582327-420
16Jubilo Iwata185492327-419
17Shonan BellmareShonan Bellmare183692433-915
18Sagan Tosu1742112130-914
19Kyoto Sanga1835101531-1614
20Consadole SapporoConsadole1825111638-2211
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