KASHIMA, IBARAKI PREF. – The Kashima Antlers rebounded from a shock first defeat in Group E to brush aside Brisbane Roar 3-0 at home in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night.
Kashima was stunned 2-1 away to Thailand’s Muangthong United two weeks ago, but goals from Yuma Suzuki, Naomichi Ueda and Yasushi Endo in cold and wet conditions on the Ibaraki Prefecture coast provided the perfect response.
The result put Kashima on top of the group with six points from three games. Brisbane has just one. Muangthong has five points after drawing 0-0 with Ulsan Hyundai, who sit third in the group on four points.
“We lost our last game (in Thailand) and wanted to do whatever we could do to bounce back. I’m glad we won,” said Suzuki, who was also on target in the Antlers’ 1-0 league win over Yokohama F. Marinos on Friday.
Brisbane came into the match still smarting from a 6-0 drubbing by South Korea’s Ulsan in their last match, but the Australians went close to breaking the 0-0 deadlock in the 26th minute.
Jamie Maclaren dummied Brandon Borrello’s cross from the right and Brett Holman connected to bring a crucial save out of Kashima goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata.
Sogahata came to the Antlers’ rescue again in the 33rd, keeping out a superb effort from Avram Papadopoulos before Endo went close at the other end with a shot that had Brisbane goalkeeper Jamie Young at full stretch.
But it was Kashima that drew first blood in the 43rd minute, Yukitoshi Ito whipping in a cross from the right for Suzuki to smash home on the turn with national team coach Vahid Halilhodzic looking on.
“It was a great ball (from Ito) and it was just a case of me putting it away,” Suzuki said. “I’m not even regular starter for my club so I want to keep trying hard to score goals (in order to impress Halilhodzic).”
Ueda put Kashima all but out of sight with the second from Endo’s corner on 76 minutes, following up a header that Young had failed to deal with before bundling home at the near post.
Endo completed the scoring with a fine third, cutting inside Corey Brown and burying his shot in the left-hand corner.
Wednesday’s games involving J. League clubs see Urawa Reds play away to Shanghai SIPG in Group F and Gamba Osaka host Chinese side Jiangsu in Group H.