Antlers down Muangthong to win ACL group

J1 League side Kashima Antlers defeated Thailand’s Muangthong United 2-1 in their Group E match of the ACF Champions League played at Kashima Soccer Stadium on Wednesday.

Prior to the fixture, both Antlers and the 'Twin Qilins' had already qualified for the AFC Champions League playoff stage and after today's result, Antlers won the group with 12 points followed by Muangthong with 11. In the third spot with seven points, are Korea Republic's Ulsan Hyundai followed by Brisbane Roar on four.

The Antlers' goals were both scored by Yuma Suzuki while Thai star Teerasil Dangda was on target for Muangthong.

During the early stages of the first half, both team's had a few slight chances but nothing came of them.

That all changed in the 18th minute when the home side opened the scoring. Yasushi Endo played a through-ball to Yuma on the right side of the box and he hammered his low shot past goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan to give his side the early lead. 

As the half progressed, Antlers had chances in increase their lead through Yuma Suzuki, Daigo Nishi and Yasushi but none of the trio could convert their chances.

Just before the half-time break, things were all square when Muangthong got their equaliser against the run of play.

Theeraton Bunmathan played the ball to Teerasil, who unleashed a screamer from outside the box into the top left corner to make it 1-1 at the break.

A minute after the second half began, Shoma Doi fired a shot at the Muangthong goal which went well wide.

The Antlers side were at it again in the 55th minute when Daigo Nishi passed the ball to Pedro Junior, but his shot from outside the box was easily saved.  

Two minutes later, Muangthong's Chanathip Songkrasin attempted a long-range shot on goal but went well wide.

The winning goal came about in the 60th minute when a cross by Yasushi found Yuma, who scored from close range to hand his side the 2-1 victory and the group win.