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.
A consolation is that United are also struggling, with Dimitar Berbatov sick with a virus and ruled out of the game, while Wayne Rooney is a doubt after picking up an injury in training.
Gamba captain Satoshi Yamaguchi believes they have what it takes to tame the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Rooney, should he play.
"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 the influential 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, would not be drawn on his starting 11.
But he said veterans Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs would all play.
"They have played a lot of big games and their experience will be vital," he said, adding that Ronaldo was also a definite starter.
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 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 them in Sunday's final, should they win, will be either Ecuador's Liga de Quito or Mexico's Pachuca.
Despite United's superior skills, physical strength and experience, Gamba coach Akira Nishino suggested an upset was not just a dream.
Admitting his side's chances of creating an upset are "close to nil", Nishino said: "We will face them without fear."
"Tomorrow will be a great day for Gamba. We are ready to give 100 percent for the challenge tomorrow," he added.
The Club World Cup, first organised in its current format in 2005, is an extension of the Intercontinental Cup contested by European and South American champion clubs.
|Liverpool land Origi|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Torino return to Europe after 20-year absence|
|Rodriguez and Schneiderlin not for sale, say Southampton|
|Rakitic: Not all about front three|
|Barkley pens new Everton deal|
|Guardiola relishing Chivas friendly|
|Drogba targets Premier League glory|
|Hull make Maguire and Robertson double swoop|
|Perisic blow for Wolfsburg|
|Ibrahimovic scores hat-trick as PSG hammer Kitchee|
|Al-Hilal coach sacked over referee row|
|La Liga boss wants cream of the crop|
|Valencia granted work permit, completes West Ham move|
|Atletico complete deal for Griezmann|
|Reus focused on fitness battle despite ´major European interest´|
|Barcelona announce club-record revenue|
|Bony could be sold for right price, says Jenkins|
|Confidence key for Newcastle, says Taylor|
|Saivet out for four weeks with knee injury|
|Genk part company with Ferrera after just one game of season|
|Gold clarifies Twitter gaffe|
|Vidic adapting to different style at Inter|
|Toulouse bring in Matheus|
|Butragueno backs Rodriguez to cope with pressure|
|Benteke aiming to come back stronger|
|Valdez joins Frankfurt|
|Jovetic ready to shine|
|Simeone hails Griezmann qualities|
|Monk unsure over De Guzman future|
|Benitez: Michu will take time to adjust|
|Diaby confident of staying fit|
|Shaw not fit enough, says Van Gaal|
|MLS Preview: RSL look for attacking spark|
|Monk slaps ´astronomical´ price on Bony´s head|
|Australian clubs looking at Ronaldinho|
|Sinclair enjoying ´one of the best pre-seasons´|
|Spiranovic surgery a success|
|Seattle Sounders 0 Los Angeles Galaxy 3: First-half blitz fires Californians to victory|
|Lemina thrilled with Bielsa effect|
|Bayern´s Green chomping at the bit|
|Palace complete US tour with easy win|
|Carragher: Liverpool didn´t want me|
|Simeone: Atleti´s La Liga triumph was no fluke|
|Sturridge: ´I´ll step up´|
|Van Gaal: Formation gives United flexibility|
|Mathieu insists age is no barrier|
|Martinez the deal sealer, says Besic|
|Coaches embrace blockbuster Serie A start|
|Ronaldinho to leave Atletico Mineiro|
|Lorient capture Ayew|
|Celtic loan Berget, sell Watt|
|Pires signs up for Indian Super League|
|Allegri set for early San Siro reunion in maiden Juve campaign|
|Bakayoko makes Monaco move|
|Bakayoko makes Monaco move|
|Lens granted Ligue 1 place|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Red-hot Salzburg face Qarabag|
|Parma bring in Cassani from Fiorentina|
|De Vrij set for Lazio|
|BREAKING NEWS: Everton complete Besic signing|
|Kongolo pens Feyenoord extension|
|Redknapp confirms Granero exit|
|Advocaat confirmed as Serbia coach|
|CSL Preview: Henan aim to escape drop zone, Liaoning host Guangzhou RandF|
|Arribas makes Sevilla switch|
|Chambers joins Arsenal|
|Ospina buoyed by Arsenal recruitment|
|Liverpool´s loss is our gain, says Redknapp on Remy|
|Ferdinand: I would still be at United with Giggs in charge|
|Pepe targets Super Cup glory|
|Martinez prioritising striker signing|
|Perez not looking to leave Benfica|
|Klopp itching to work with full Dortmund squad|
|Mourinho: It feels like Drogba never left|
|FIFA asks for FIGC review into alleged racist remark|
|Hull to review Maguire deal|
|Wenger prepared to gamble on Chambers|
|Atletico agree Griezmann deal|
|Irvine planning further striker addition|
|Campbell: Black professionals scared to talk about racism|
|Mata backs Herrera to star in Premier League|
|Injured Rafael returning to Manchester|
|Schmidt demands more from Leverkusen|
|Copa Libertadores Preview: Defensor Sporting banking on home record|
|Remy´s Liverpool move off, confirms Rodgers|
|Inzaghi demands nastiness from Milan|
|MLS Review: Timbers triumph in Montreal, Dallas thwart Vancouver|
|Jovetic ready to lead City line - Pellegrini|
|Lewandowski impresses Ribery, Alaba|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Three clubs remain perfect, Atletico Nacional get off the mark|
|Rodgers: ´We can score goals´ without Suarez|
|Chilean Primera Division Review: Canales brace powers Universidad Chile|
|Atletico Madrid need penalties to edge past Earthquakes|
|Liga MX Review: Monterrey, America stay perfect|
|Paraguayan Primera Division Review: Capiata set pace|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro win again, Kaka scores|
|Sterling goal sees Liverpool past Olympiacos|
|Peruvian Primera Division Review: Los Caimanes notch maiden win, Inti Gas claim top spot|
|CAF Champions League Review: Zamalek held, Vita Club leave it late|
|Jovetic at the double as Manchester City thrash Milan|
|Monk thrilled by Sigurdsson contribution|
|Lovren signs for Liverpool|
|Mourinho pleased with Olimpija test|
|Vertonghen eager to remain at Spurs|
|Sigurdsson marks Swansea return with a brace|
|Lewandowski, Rode help Bayern retain Telekom Cup|
|Immobile scores and suffers injury in Dortmund win|
|Costa scores on Chelsea debut|
|CAF Confederation Cup Review: Leopards de Dolisie 1 Real Bamako 2|
|Thai Premier League Review: Buriram pull clear, Police edge away from danger|
|Falcao nears Monaco return|
|CSL Review: Harbin Yiteng produce another upset, Evergrande stretch lead|
|Britton and Emnes to miss season-opener|
|Taylor-Fletcher strike sinks Everton|
|J.League Review: Chasing pack close on Urawa Reds, Tokushima Vortis secure rare win|
|Ancelotti expects fresh Bale to be even better|
|Simeone keen on Griezmann|
|Mazzarri refuses to set Inter targets|
|Lazio director targeted by fans|
|Dyche rules out Deeney move|
|Rummenigge: Bayern will never sack Guardiola|
|BREAKING NEWS: Arsenal to bring in Ospina|
|Pochettino quiet on Schneiderlin link|
|Vidic settling into Inter life|
|Van Gaal hints at Zaha United future|
|Di Maria will report for training - Ancelotti|
|Wilshere vows to answer critics|
|Rodgers expecting titles|
|Deila demands Celtic cutting edge|
|Rodgers: We won´t rush Lallana|
|Wenger: We have to be better against top-level teams|
|FIGC presidential candidate uses racist slur|
|MLS Review: Columbus claim second straight win, Toronto falter|
|Villa battle past Dynamo in Houston|
|United more efficient, says Garcia|
|Pedestrian Tottenham edge past Chicago Fire|
|Van Gaal bemoans display|
|CS Sfaxien 1 ES Tunis 0: Troussier era opens with a win|
|Icardi stars from the spot as Inter overcome Real Madrid|
|Arsenal upstaged by Red Bulls|
|Pre-Season Friendly Review: Rooney stars for United, Bayern reach Telekom final|
|In-form Rooney inspires Manchester United win|