Champions Kashima Antlers produce miraculous comeback to beat Gyeongnam FC

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Reigning champions AFC Champions League Kashima Antlers scored twice in injury-time to come from two goals down and seal an incredible 3-2 win over Gyeongnam FC in Group E on Tuesday.

Following a goalless first half at the Changwon Football Center, it was Gyeongnam who opened the scoring four minutes before the hour mark when Takahiro Kunimoto swung in a dangerous cross from the right that opposition centre-back Tomoya Inukai ended up heading into the back of his own net.

Kunimoto emerged as the provider once more in the 71st minute when his corner kick found Jordon Mutch, who met it with a sumptuous first-time volley into the far corner to put the hosts firmly in control of proceedings.

Former Premier League man Jordon Mutch scores stunner against Asian Champions Kashima

Kashima did pull one back four minutes later when their opponents scored an own goal of their own; Woo Joo-sung climbing high and curiously sending a backward header over Lee Bum-soo despite being under little pressure.

The visitors were dealt a blow in the 84th minute when Inukai’s miserable night was compounded by a red card, after he was penalised for a second bookable offence.

Remarkably despite the numerical deficit, the Antlers equalised in the first minute of injury-time when a deep cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Hiroki Abe, paving the way for Takeshi Kanamori to sweep home from close range.

At this stage, it looked as though the 2018 champions would be content with coming behind to snatch a point but they had other ideas.

Serginho scores stoppage time winner to cap off stunning Kashima comeback

Right at the death, another ball floated into the Gyeongnam box was nodded on by Itsuki Oda and latched upon by Serginho, who produced a stunning piledriver on his weaker right foot that flew past Lee to hand Kashima a stunning triumph.

GYEONGNAM FC: Lee Bum-soo, Lee Kwang-jin, Woo Joo-sung, Song Ju-hun, Choi Jae-soo, Ko Kyung-min (Park Gi-dong 79’), Jordon Mutch, Takahiro Kunimoto, Negueba (Kim Jong-pil 58’), Kim Hyo-gi, Kim Seung-jun.

KASHIMA ANTLERS: Kwoun Sun-tae (Hitoshi Sogahata 45+5’), Taiki Hirato (Kazuma Yamaguchi 75’), Tomoya Inukai, Koki Machida, Koki Anzai, Yasushi Endo (Itsuki Oda 71’), Shintaro Nago, Kento Misao, Hiroki Abe, Takeshi Kanamori, Serginho.