Shirasaki: Winning mentality behind Kashima's improved form
Kashima: Ryohei Shirasaki has claimed that a collective winning mentality has seen Kashima Antlers’ form improve in recent months as the AFC Champions League holders prepare to take on Guangzhou Evergrande in the second leg of the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The J.League side secured a goalless draw in the first leg in Guangzhou just over two weeks ago, while their league form has also taken an upturn, having been beaten just once since May as the Ibaraki side have risen to second behind leaders FC Tokyo.
And, just as in 2018, the defending champions could be hitting form at the right time, with Go Oiwa’s team just three games away from a second successive final as they aim to become the first side to defend the AFC Champions League since Al Ittihad in 2004 and 2005.
Guangzhou: Two-time AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande were unable to make home field advantage count against reigning champions Kashima Antlers on Wednesday in the first leg of their quarter-final meeting as the pair shared a 0-0 draw at Tianhe Stadium.
Neither side was able to find a way past the other’s defence in a game affected by hot and humid conditions in the southern Chinese city and they will face off again next month with all to play for in the second leg at Kashima Soccer Stadium.
Elkeson made his first start for Guangzhou in the AFC Champions League in over three-and-a-half years after returning to the club from Shanghai SIPG earlier in the summer, but the Brazil-born forward was peripheral for much of the opening period as neither side was able to find a way through.
Kuala Lumpur: Guangzhou Evergrande and Shanghai SIPG will travel to Japan next week for their respective 2019 AFC Champions League quarter-final second legs against Kashima Antlers and Urawa Red Diamonds respectively.
Today (September 12) marks two years to the day since the Chinese giants clashed in one of the most dramatic second-leg encounters in the competition’s history on a truly memorable night at theTianhe Stadium. The-AFC.com looks back at how events unfolded.
Social Wrap: International Duty, Jet Setters & Family Time
Kuala Lumpur: With the focus having firmly been on the opening games of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers, the AFC Champions League has taken a back seat in recent weeks.
Whether on international duty, jetting off far and wide or simply enjoying some downtime with their families, the players still involved in the Continental competition have remained active on social media, though. Here's the-AFC.com's look at some of the highlights.
Team of ‘warriors’ can win third title, insists Urawa legend Ponte
Kuala Lumpur: One of the stars who helped Urawa Red Diamonds to their maiden AFC Champions League title believes the Saitama side have what it takes to win the Continental competition for an unprecedented third time.
Back in 2007, Robson Ponte was Urawa’s top scorer as the Reds became the first Japanese team to lift the AFC Champions League when they overcame the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Sepahan in the final after a 2-0 win at Saitama Stadium secured a 3-1 aggregate victory.
So often the setting for dramatic encounters, Saitama – where Urawa also won the 2017 title – will play host to the quarter-final second leg against Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday and, with the score tied at 2-2 after the first leg, Ponte is confident the two-time winners have what it takes to advance past the Chinese champions.
Yangon: Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu was a satisfied head coach after his Japan side overcame both Myanmar and challenging weather conditions to begin their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers campaign with a 2-0 win on Tuesday.
On a warm, wet night in Yangon, early goals from Shoya Nakajima and Takumi Minamino paved the way to victory for Moiryasu’s charges, who avoided the type of slip up already suffered by several Continental powerhouses in the Second Round of the Asian Qualifiers.
With three points secured, Moriyasu – who led Japan to the AFC Asian Cup final in January – declared he was satisfied with his team’s win.
Kuala Lumpur: The first legs of the quarter-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League concluded this week with plenty of action and intrigue resulting from the four ties.
Rollercoaster matches, tense and taught ties, and the 'Saudi Clasico' saw the 2019 quarter-finals kick off in fine style with the first leg fixtures. Here's what those involved had to say in the immediate aftermath.