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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Asian Champions League final: Kashima Antlers take on Persepolis for the title and place at Fifa Club World Cup in UAE

The Japanese side have home advantage for the first leg, with the second leg in Tehran on November 10

Kashima Antlers had a tough route through to the Asian Champions League final. EPA
Kashima Antlers had a tough route through to the Asian Champions League final. EPA

The first leg of the Asian Champions League final takes place on Saturday in Japan between Kashima Antlers and Iranian side Persepolis.

Here is a lowdown on the two-legged tie, the second leg in Tehran on Saturday November 10, with the winner earning a spot at the Fifa Club World Cup in December in the UAE.

Kashima Antlers

Group: Runners up

Last 16: Defeated Shanghai SIPG 4-3 aggregate

Quarter-finals: Defeated Tianjin Quanjian 5-0 aggregate

Semi-finals: Defeated Suwon Samsung Bluewings 6-5 aggregate

History: The prolific Japanese side were unbeaten through the quarter-finals and semi-finals and have scored 11 goals in their past five matches in the competition. Japan’s most successful club, they have never repeated domestic success on the continent. Qualified for the final via an incredible last-four clash against South Korea’s Suwon Samsung Bluewings, when they twice came back from two goals down. A first final from 11 Champions League campaigns, they had never previously been beyond the last eight.

One to watch: Yuma Suzuki

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Persepolis

Group: Winners

Last 16: Defeated Al Jazira on away goals (4-4 aggregate)

Quarter-finals: Defeated Al Duhail 3-2 aggregate

Semi-finals: Defeated Al Saad 2-1 aggregate

History: The Iranians have been excellent on road to the final, improving upon their run to the 2017 semi-final – their previous best campaign. Now contesting the Champions League for a seventh time, Branko Ivankovic’s side displayed their grit and determination by reversing first-leg deficits in the knockouts against Abu Dhabi’s Al Jazira and Qatar’s Al Duhail. Will face for the first time East Asian opposition, where they will attempt to win a first Champions League title for Iran.

One to watch: Ali Alipour