• Kyodo

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The Kashima Antlers kicked off their Asian Champions League quarterfinal tie with a 0-0 draw in hot and humid conditions against Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday.

Antlers, the 2018 champions, were playing Guangzhou for the fifth time in the ACL, and it was the first time either team had failed to win at home. The lack of a goal could have dire implications in next Wednesday’s return leg.

“The game was played in extremely severe conditions, so our objective was to get at least one goal on account of the away goal rule. Unfortunately, it ended 0-0,” Antlers manager Go Oiwa said after the game at Tianhe Stadium. “Now I want to go home and thoroughly prepare to earn a win.”

In the return leg at Kashima Stadium, Antlers will have to win or come out ahead in a penalty shootout following a scoreless draw to advance to the semifinals for the second straight year. Any other draw will send Guangzhou through on away goals.

On Tuesday, the Urawa Reds, the J. League’s other remaining quarterfinalists, drew 2-2 away at Shanghai SIPG.

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