Antlers beat Sydney to remain unbeaten in Asian Champions League


Kashima Antlers remained unbeaten in their Asian Champions League campaign Wednesday night with a 2-0 away victory over Australian domestic competition leaders Sydney FC.

In what had been a largely uneventful first half, Shoma Doi opened the scoring in the 40th minute as Sydney failed to defend a corner, tapping in from close range after Yuma Suzuki miscued a shot into his path.

Naomichi Ueda put the result beyond doubt three minutes from the end of regulation, once again punishing the home side’s inability to deal with a corner. The defender headed home from the center of the box after Shuta Yamamoto rose to meet Ryota Nagaki’s corner kick and directed the ball through the air.

Antlers coach Go Oiwa praised his side for securing their second straight away win in the competition, following their 2-1 defeat of Suwon Bluewings in South Korea on Feb. 21.

“We were able to control the game for 90 minutes. We played a good game,” Oiwa said.

The win leaves Antlers on top of Group H with seven points after three matches. Sydney, which has drawn criticism from some quarters at home for prioritizing domestic A-League matches over the ACL, remains at the bottom of the group with a single point.

In group F, reigning J. League champions Kawasaki Frontale looked set for their first win of the ACL campaign until an injury time penalty allowed visiting A-League side Melbourne Victory to snatch a 2-2 draw.

Kyohei Noborizato put the home side ahead in the 55th minute after Melbourne’s Besart Berisha canceled out Elsinho’s opening goal with 9 minutes remaining in the first half.

Leroy George equalized from the spot in the third minute of injury time after Tasuki Nara was ruled to have fouled Victory substitute forward Christian Theoharous in the penalty area.

Frontale remain last in the group with a single point after losing their two previous matches.