AFC Champions League 2019: Champions Kashima come from behind to stay in the hunt

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Kashima Antlers are through to the Round of 16 of AFC Champions League 2019 after coming from behind to beat Shandong Luneng 2-1 and finish second in Group E.

It initially looked as though Shandong, who had already sealed their progress on the previous match day, took the lead after 11 minutes.

A deep corner was headed on by Gil and Marouane Fellaini was on hand to help it towards goal and, although Kwoun Sun-tae did his best to claw it away, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line.

But, in the 68th minute, two of Kashima’s substitutes combined to great effect as Leo Silva’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Shuto Yamamoto and caused havoc inside the area, allowing Sho Ito to pounce on the loose ball and fire home.

Just two minutes later, Ito was at it again and he ran onto a lovely incisive through-ball from Silva and took one touch to take the pass into his stride before calmly guiding his shot past Han Rongze, which ultimately proved enough to hand his side the win.

The result ensured Kashima stayed in second spot, two points ahead of Gyeongnam FC, who had beaten Johor Darul Ta’zim 1-0 in the other Group E encounter.

KASHIMA ANTLERS: Kwoun Sun-tae, Ryota Nagaki (Shuto Yamamoto 56’), Jung Seung-hyun, Tomoya Inukai, Koki Machida, Atsutaka Nakamura (Sho Ito 63’), Kento Misao, Leo Silva, Ryohei Shirasaki (Hiroki Abe 85’), Shoma Doi, Serginho.

SHANDONG LUNENG: Han Rongze, Zhang Chi, Dai Lin, Gil, Song Long, Qi Tianyu (Hao Junmin 29’), Zhou Haibin (Liu Yang 64’), Marouane Fellaini, Liu Binbin, Song Wenjie (Wang Tong 67’), Graziano Pelle.