Kashiwa: A brace from Cristiano helped Kashiwa Reysol of Japan book their place in the 2018 AFC Champions League on Tuesday after defeating Thailand’s Muangthong United 3-0 in their play-off stage clash at Kashiwa Soccer Stadium.
The Brazilian got the ball rolling for the home side, converting from close range after a Junya Ito cut-back in the 51st minute, before making it 2-0 with his second after a wonderful run 11 minutes later.
Ito then made sure of Kashiwa’s fourth AFC Champions League appearance with a cool finish from inside the area in the 89th minute.
Muangthong made it to the Round of 16 in last year’s AFC Champions League, but this defeat makes it five times the Thais have fallen at the final stage of qualifying.
Kashiwa, meanwhile, will now compete in Group E of the competition proper, alongside Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of Korea Republic, Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC, and Tianjin Quanjian, who booked their own place earlier on Tuesday after defeating Ceres Negros of the Philippines 2-0 in China.