AFC Champions League winners Kashima Antlers will meet Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World cup after beating Guadalajara 3-2 in Saturday’s quarter-final.
It was Mexico’s Guadalajara – the current holders of the CONCACAF Champions League – who took the lead through at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium courtesy of Angel Zaldivar’s third-minute opener.
However, their Japanese opponents equalised through a Ryota Nagaki strike four minutes after halftime, before Serginho fired them ahead from the spot in the 69th minute.
Hiroki Abe then found the back of the net in the 84th minute to put the result beyond doubt, although Guadalajara did manage a late consolation in the fourth minute of injury-time when Leo Silva inadvertently scored an own-goal.
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With the win, Kashima have progressed to the semis and set up a rematch with Spanish giants Real Madrid, which will be a repeat of the 2016 final.
On that occasion, the Antlers were on course to cause a mighty upset as they led 2-1 after 52 minutes before Cristiano Ronaldo came to Real’s rescue with a hat-trick to seal a 4-2 extra-time victory.