Endo propels Antlers to triumph

Kyodo

Substitute Yasushi Endo snatched a dramatic late winner as the Kashima Antlers beat South Korean foe Jeonbuk Motors 2-1 on Tuesday on a night of differing fortunes for Japanese clubs in the Asian Champions League.

Eninho fired Jeonbuk into the lead shortly before halftime but Koji Nakata equalized in the 70th minute before Endo burst through in the 90th minute to prod home and make it two wins out of two in Group F.

Kawasaki Frontale, however, were condemned to a second straight defeat in Group E after going down 3-1 at home to China’s Beijing Guoan.

At Jeonju World Cup Stadium, there was little to choose between the teams in a tightly contested first half. The opening chance fell to the South Koreans after five minutes but Kashima goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata did well to thwart Lee Dong Gook from close range.

Nakata, matchwinner in last month’s opening 1-0 defeat of China’s Changchun Yatai, let fly from the edge of the box on 19 minutes, but Kwoun Sun Tae blocked with his legs before Takuya Nozawa then saw his deflected shot come back off the post.

It was the home side that took the lead, though, three minutes from halftime when Eninho swept past Sogahata to finish a wonderful flowing move involving Lee and Choi Tae Uk.

At Todoroki Stadium, Beijing took the lead on 37 minutes in steady snowfall when Joel Griffiths held off Hiroki Ito to beat Eiji Kawashima with a cool finish, but the visitors’ joy was short-lived as Kosuke Kikuchi turned in Yusuke Tasaka’s left-wing corner moments later.

However, Kawasaki paid the price for sloppy defending as Wang Changqing made it 2-1 on 65 minutes before lobbing Kawashima to seal victory with his second of the night in the closing stages.