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
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.
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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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
Updated: November 2, 2018 12:16 PM