TOKYO: Kashima Antlers have less than a week to celebrate their eighth J-League title before they take on New Zealand’s Auckland City in the Club World Cup on Thursday.
At least the tournament is being staged in Japan so Kashima need travel only as far as the Yokohama International Stadium.
Japan’s most decorated club claimed the title from the most unpromising of circumstances having gone 1-0 down, 2-0 on aggregate, at Urawa Reds’ Saitama Stadium in the second leg of the championship final on Saturday.
A brace from striker Mu Kanazaki, the second a 79th minute penalty, silenced the 60,000 crowd and gave Kashima their first title for seven years to complete the line-up for the FIFA’s showpiece club competition.
Real Madrid, South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors, Colombia’s Atletico Nacional, Club America of Mexico and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns complete the line-up for the Dec. 8-18 tournament.