SAITAMA – Kashima Antlers survived a late rally from Urawa Reds in their Levain Cup quarterfinal tie Wednesday, holding on for a 3-2 win in the opening leg at Saitama Stadium.
Shinzo Koroki and Tomoaki Makino scored in quick succession for the hosts midway through the second half after Kashima had taken a 3-0 lead into the break.
The Asian champions scored all three of their goals in an eight-minute span. Brazilian defender Bueno netted the opener in the 35th minute, connecting with a Ryota Nagaki free kick to head home his first goal for the club.
Shoma Doi doubled the lead three minutes later, finishing with a header after Leo Silva delivered a perfectly weighted cross. Shintaro Nago added the third in the 43rd minute, tapping in from close range after Doi had an attempt blocked.
Koroki pounced on a spilled ball in the area to score in the 58th minute, while Makino headed Urawa’s second following a set piece two minutes later.
In the other league cup quarterfinal ties, Consadole Sapporo came from behind to beat visiting Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-2, while Kawasaki Frontale won 2-0 at home against Nagoya Grampus.
Gamba Osaka prevailed 1-0 against FC Tokyo at Panasonic Stadium after having a goal overturned by the video assistant referee.
Making its debut in the league cup quarterfinals, the VAR technology was called upon after Gamba midfielder Leo Takae was initially awarded a goal six minutes into the second half. Following video review, the ball was determined not to have fully crossed the goal line.
The quarterfinalists will meet again in second-leg matches on Sunday.