Kashima Antlers win Asian Champions League and a spot at Fifa Club World Cup in UAE
First time the Japanese side have won the competition as goalless draw with Persepolis gives them 2-0 aggregate win
Japan's Kashima Antlers won the Asian Champions League for the first time in their history with a 2-0 aggregate victory after their return leg against Persepolis ended in a goalless draw Saturday in Tehran.
The result also qualifies them to compete in the Fifa Club World Cup in the UAE in December.
The Japanese side had won the first leg 2-0 in Kashima last week with Brazilian duo Leo Silva and Serginho on target.
That left Persepolis, also chasing their first continental title, with plenty to do in Tehran and although they created several chances in front of a 100,000-strong crowd at the Azadi Stadium, Go Oiwa's men held on to their two-goal advantage.
Kashima's triumph was the second successive year a Japanese team had won the title, following Urawa Red Diamonds' victory last year. Before that Gamba Osaka had claimed the crown in 2008.
Persepolis, known for their mean defence, had no option but to attack on Saturday, but Kashima goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae put in a virtuoso performance.
Kwoun, for whom this was a third Asian crown following two with South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, was at the top of his game, keeping the Iranians, especially Ali Alipour and Bashar Resan, at bay.
Seven minutes before half-time Resan muscled his way past two defenders close to the Kashima goal, but failed to beat Kwoun at his near post.
Persepolis coach Branko Ivankovic sent on Mohsen Rabiekhah and Ehsan Alvanzadeh in a desperate attempt to break the deadlock but to no avail.
Updated: November 11, 2018 08:44 AM