A TEAM that took Spanish giants Real Madrid to extra-time in last year’s FIFA Club World Cup final fearing a Brisbane Roar side beaten 6-0 last month in the AFC Champions League?
As bizarre as it sounds, Roar vice-captain Jade North is adamant it is true ahead of Brisbane’s Champions League date with reigning J1 League titleholders Kashima Antlers in Japan on Tuesday night.
“I watched that game and they were pretty awesome against Real Madrid,” North said in reference to Kashima’s 4-2 extra-time loss in December’s World Club Cup final in Yokohama.
“But this is going to be a different game, and a different team playing against us.
“It’s funny, because as good as they are, they’d be fearing us more than worrying about themselves.
“Although they’re fantastic athletes and technically gifted players, I know the Japanese mentality and the Aussies always do well against the Japanese at national team and club levels, and that includes the Roar.”
Former Socceroos defender North was part of a Brisbane team that beat Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds 1-0 in Saitama in the 2015 edition of the Champions League.
“We surprised a lot of people that night,” he said.
But North was also part of the Roar side thrashed 6-0 by South Korean club Ulsan Hyundai less than two weeks ago.
While Brisbane restored some dignity the following Sunday by beating Newcastle 3-1 in the A-League, they also want redemption on the continental stage.
“If we didn’t have pride in wanting to win the next game or continuing on in the Champions League, we shouldn’t be playing football, it’s as simple as that,” North said.
“When you get pumped like that, you’ve got to have respect for yourselves, your team and obviously respect in the sense that you need to win the next game.
“We’re going there (Japan) to get the three points. If we do that, we’ll set ourselves up nicely.”
The Roar will be much fresher than they were when they played Ulsan.
A split round in the A-League gave them the weekend off.
“We’ve got a strong squad, and from our last game (against Newcastle), we would have had 10 days until our kick-off against Kashima, so the boys will be ready to go,” North said.
Kashima, upset 2-1 losers to Thai champions Muangthong United last month, are in second place in Group E on three points, while the Roar sit at the bottom of the group with one point from two matches.
Originally published as Roar stir fear in Japan