YOKOHAMA, Japan (AFP) - A defiant Gamba Osaka insist they are not afraid of Manchester United but the Japanese team face a daunting task against the European champions in their Club World Cup semi-final on Thursday.
It will be one of the biggest games in Gamba's history, but they are handicapped by injuries to attacking midfielders Takahiro Futagawa and Hayato Sasaki, who were stretchered off during their win over Adelaide on Sunday.
Nevertheless, captain Satoshi Yamaguchi believes they have what it takes to tame the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
"We have nothing to lose and we'll go all out, leave everything out there on the pitch," he said.
"We don't want to be thinking after the match that we should have done this and that, and as long as we're playing them, we'll play to win. But we need to make sure we don't play like we did against Adelaide."
In that game, the Asian champions were lucky to survive, with Yasuhito Endo scoring the only goal.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson watched the match on DVD and pinpointed Endo as the danger man, along with their Brazilian striker Lucas.
"He is their star player," the Scot said of Endo. "Not only did he score the decisive goal, he was the influential player in terms of possession of the ball.
"He actually changed his position from where he normally plays behind the centre forward after they lost two players in the first 18 minutes and played towards the left-hand side. And it worked very well.
"Their Brazilian centre forward (Lucas) is also a very good player. He has quick feet and, unusually for a Brazilian, he is tall. He is a very effective player."
Ferguson, who has defended United's decision to make the long trip to Japan in mid-season, has a full squad to pick from. He would not be drawn on whether he will field his first 11, aware that jet lag was still affecting some players.
"It is a serious game. I brought 23 players and therefore I hope I can pick the right team to win the match and make the final," he said.
"It's always difficult when you have so many good players, and that is why we take time to study our opponents, to be able to pick the right team."
United are eager to win the tournament and add a new trophy to their collection, but Ferguson is aware that Japanese football has improved in recent years and says he is not being complacent.
"I've experienced playing in Japan before. We played Urawa Reds twice and they were very difficult opposition because they played with great enthusiasm," he said.
"The improvement in Japanese football is obvious. There is a tremendous improvement in the organisation and team's abilities, so we're expecting a hard game on Thursday.
"Hopefully it is one we can win and go to the final."
Awaiting in Sunday's final will be either Ecuador's Liga de Quito or Mexico's Pachuca.
Despite United having superior skills, physicial strength and experience, Gamba coach Akira Nishino suggested an upset was not just a dream.
"Ferguson may be Ferguson, but I like to think he's human too," Nishino said.
"The same goes for Manchester United and Gamba. We will face them without fear."
The Club World Cup, first organised in its current form in 2005, is an extension of the Intercontinental Cup contested by European and South American champion clubs.
|Gattuso dreaming of managing Rangers|
|Fiorentina agree return of Gilardino on loan|
|Sakho hits back at critics|
|South Korea 2 Iraq 0: Kim books sixth Asian Cup final place|
|Sturridge could return against Chelsea|
|Zinnbauer backs Drobny as Hamburg first choice|
|Drogba targeting Chelsea stay|
|Postecoglou confident Australia squad can progress|
|UEFA does not have the courage to run against me - Blatter|
|Foster: Anichebe unplayable|
|Australia v UAE: Japan´s absence a boon for Asian Cup hosts|
|Milan v Lazio: Injury-hit visitors aiming for back-to-back wins|
|Trezeguet confirms retirement|
|No ´major problems´ with Nicolas Frey´s head wound|
|Strootman injury not "serious" - Garcia|
|No Paraguay, USA for retiring Riquelme|
|Saint-Etienne did not try to play football - Blanc|
|Primeira Liga Review: Sporting move within one point of Porto|
|La Liga Review: Parejo downs Sevilla, Resino starts with a point|
|Serie A Review: Juve go seven points clear as Roma draw again|
|Ligue 1 Review: Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon make Marseille pay for slip-up|
|Burkina Faso coach puts AFCON exit down to bad luck|
|Saint-Etienne 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Ibrahimovic scores in repeat performance|
|Shenaishil optimistic despite Kasim absence|
|Walcott: Goal has been a long time coming|
|DR Congo v Tunisia: Leekens warns against complacency|
|Congo 2 Burkina Faso 1: Thievy helps send 2013 runners-up crashing out|
|Gabon 0 Equatorial Guinea 2: Balboa and Iban put hosts through|
|McCarthy and Distin on road to recovery|
|Gil has hit the ground running - Lambert|
|Eredivisie Review: Ajax and Feyenoord lose ground after dour draw, Eagles secure big win|
|Wenger confirms Gabriel move is imminent|
|Eto´o presented to Sampdoria fans|
|Cape Verde v Zambia: Victory a must for 2012 winners to avoid elimination|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 2 Arsenal 3: Walcott and Ozil among the goals for holders|
|Mancini upbeat despite ´cruel´ late defeat|
|Pogba revelling in rich vein of form|
|Aston Villa 2 Bournemouth 1: Gil helps under-fire Lambert breathe easy|
|Defour dismissed after Standard Liege banner taunt|
|Allardyce relieved with scrappy West Ham win|
|Sturridge ´happy man´ after return to Liverpool training|
|Inter 0 Torino 1: Moretti ends unbeaten run for top-four hopefuls|
|Juventus 2 Chievo 0: Pogba inspires victory as leaders march on|
|Bristol City 0 West Ham 1: Super sub Sakho sinks City|
|Hughes in talks over new Stoke deal|
|Delph signs new contract|
|Chelsea v Liverpool: Mourinho demands League Cup response|
|Football League Preview: Derby eye top two, Cambridge back to reality|
|Nani not giving up on Old Trafford career|
|Perth Glory 3 Melbourne Victory 3: Leaders stage two-goal late comeback|
|Neymar: Barca have no interest in Real results|
|Milan defender Mexes apologises for red card|
|South Korea v Iraq: Strange lead-up for Shenaishil´s men|
|Lazio´s Djordjevic thanks well-wishers ahead of ankle surgery|
|Iran´s Asian Cup appeal dismissed by AFC|
|Cech urges Chelsea to clean up FA Cup exit ´mess´|
|Henderson: Liverpool are up for the cup|
|Edimar wants ´normal´ ban for Real star Ronaldo|
|Pellegrini defends misfiring City strikers|
|Australia ready for UAE - Sainsbury|
|Blanc takes positives from past|
|Inzaghi promises ´something different´ at Milan|
|Mexes sorry for seeing red|
|La Liga Review: Wins for top three|
|Vitoria Guimaraes 2 Gil Vicente 2: Last-gasp penalty salvages point for hosts|
|Simeone marvels at Griezmann impact|
|Djordjevic to have x-ray on ankle problem|
|Eredivisie Review: PSV go seven points clear, Heerenveen cruise|
|Luis Enrique backs himself on Suarez omission|
|Lazio 3 Milan 1: Parolo and Klose seal victory|
|Cameroon 1 Guinea 1: Draw ensures Group D stays finely poised|
|Rodgers reveals Sturridge fitness boost after Bolton stalemate|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Rayo Vallecano 1: Griezmann inspires routine win|
|Gabriel move agreed, Campbell to join Villarreal on loan|
|Gabon v Equatorial Guinea: Neighbours face off for quarter-final berth|
|FA Cup Review: Chelsea stunned by Bradford as Middlesbrough beat Manchester City|
|Ronaldo apologises for red card|
|Pulis eyes room for improvement|
|Liverpool 0 Bolton Wanderers 0: Championship side frustrate Anfield to earn replay|
|Karanka hails players after stunning City|
|Elche 0 Barcelona 6: Neymar and Messi inspire resounding win|
|League Two Review: Wycombe and Burton held, Shrewsbury up to second|
|Pardew lauds Palace performance|
|Pochettino laments late collapse|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Celtic stretch lead, Inverness and Dundee United keep up chase|
|Parkinson revels in huge upset after humbling Chelsea|
|Bayern targeting unbeaten Bundesliga season - Robben|
|Pearson: FA Cup win can breed confidence|
|League One Review: Dons close gap, Peterborough end run|
|Ivory Coast 1 Mali 1: Gradel rescues Renard´s men|
|Fulham seal Richards loan|
|Pellegrini: UAE trip had no impact|
|Koeman blames defeats on defensive lapses|
|Gundogan injury mars Dortmund preparations|
|Championship Review: Ighalo stars as Blackpool capitulate|
|Chelsea defeat a ´disgrace´ - Mourinho|
|Monk rues missed opportunity|
|Manchester City 0 Middlesbrough 2: Boro stun City with FA Cup shock|
|Chelsea 2 Bradford City 4: League One outfit dump out Premier League leaders|
|Tottenham 1 Leicester City 2: Late turnaround stuns Spurs|
|Cordoba 1 Real Madrid 2: Bale steals late win as Ronaldo sees red|
|Birmingham City 1 West Brom 2: Anichebe seals derby triumph|
|Southampton 2 Crystal Palace 3: Pardew´s men reach fifth round|
|Sunderland 0 Fulham 0: Defoe fails to fire on home debut|
|Bowyer hails ´terrific´ Blackburn|
|Rochdale v Stoke City: Shawcross in race to be fit for cup clash|
|Blackburn Rovers 3 Swansea City 1: Late goals snatch victory for Championship side|
|Congo v Burkina Faso: Le Roy vows to attack|
|Roma still in race for Scudetto - Garcia|
|Mancini coy on Toure links|
|Mertens rules out Napoli exit|
|Barzagli back in Juve squad|
|A-League Review: Adelaide and Sydney rack up the goals|
|Real have signed a ´diamond´ in Silva, says Oliveira|
|Queiroz: How can Williams sleep at night?|
|Asian Cup history ´the focus´ for Australia - Kruse|
|Pogba could be the world´s ´most expensive´ player|
|Australia international joins Dundee United|
|Real Madrid is a ´dream come true´ - Silva|
|Van Gaal angered by first-half showing in cup stalemate|