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Kashima close in on more glory


Thursday, November 22, 2018
Kashima celebrate

Kuala Lumpur: Kashima Antlers' season just keeps getting better after the J.League side advanced to the 2018 Emperor's Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.


Fresh from winning the 2018 AFC Champions League - their first Continental crown - Kashima will face Urawa Red Diamonds in the Emperor's Cup semi-finals on December 5.



Should Kashima defeat Urawa - which will be a meeting between the last two AFC Champions League winners - they will face Vegalta Sendai or Montedio Yamagata in the final four days later.



The Emperor's Cup is important to both Kashima and Urawa as emerging champions would mean automatic entry to the group stage of the 2019 AFC Champions League.

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The Emperor's Cup is important to both Kashima and Urawa as emerging champions would mean automatic entry to the group stage of the 2019 AFC Champions League.



Both teams can also still advance via the J.League but with Kawasaki Frontale having already sealed the title, the two spots available for the 2019 AFC Champions League are for the playoff stage.



With two matches to play, Sanfrecce Hiroshima are second on 56 points and look set to claim one playoff berth.



Kashima, on 52 points, are third but face a battle as Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo (51), FC Tokyo (50), Urawa (48), Shimizu S-Pulse and Cerezo Osaka (both 47) are all also in the race for the playoff spots.



Kashima, who defeated Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis 2-0 on aggregate to win the 2018 AFC Champions League, face Vegalta Sendai on Saturday before completing their league campaign against Sagan Tosu on December 1.



Their season, however, will continue even after their domestic commitments end as Kashima will face Club Deportivo Guadalajara of Mexico in the quarter-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup on December 15, having advanced to the final of the 2016 edition where they lost 4-2 to a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid.

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