KASHIMA, IBARAKI PREF. - Kashima Antlers got their Asian Champions League quarterfinal off to a positive start Tuesday with a 2-0 win in the first leg over China’s Tianjin Quanjian.
The Antlers, unbeaten in their last three matches and sitting seventh in the J .League standings, rode second-half goals from Brazilians Leo Silva and Serginho to the win at Kashima Stadium, the team’s fourth in its run to the ACL quarters.
Kashima dominated possession, more than doubling Tianjin’s shots with seven of 21 on target.
Silva opened the scoring with a 60th-minute strike from a central position in the box, Yasushi Endo having picked him out with a header after Shuto Yamamoto dispossessed Kwon Kyung-won and crossed to Endo on the edge of the area.
The second came 12 minutes later when Serginho let rip from distance, firing past Tianjin goalkeeper Zhang Lu into the bottom left corner of the net.
The teams will meet in Tianjin for the second leg on Sept. 18, with the Antlers looking to reach the ACL semifinals for the first time. Their only other appearance in the final eight came in 2008 when they were defeated by eventual runner-up Adelaide United.