Japanese outfit Kashima Antlers have defied all odds by qualifying for the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup final. The Antlers defeated Colombian outfit Atletico Nacional 3-0 in their semi-final encounter at the iconic Suita City Stadium in Osaka, Japan. By doing so, the reigning J-League champions have been registered in the history books as the first football club from Asia to ever become FIFA Club World Cup finalists.
Shoma Doi had given Antlers the lead against Nacional by scoring from the spot in the 33rd minute. Yasushi Endo, Yuma Suzuki sealed the match in favour of the hosts by netting in the 83rd and 85th minute respectively.
— FIFA Club World Cup (@ClubWorldCups) December 14, 2016
Referee and the assistant referees opted to use the Video Assistant Referees for the very first time in a FIFA game to award the historic penalty.
— The IFAB (@TheIFAB) December 14, 2016
The Antlers had earlier beaten South African outfit Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in the quarter-final clash, having already ousted New Zealand’s Auckland City 2-1 in the first round. The Japanese football club proved their vast credentials in each stage of the ongoing extravaganza. They have not only silenced their critics but have also shocked the entire football fraternity as the result of this fixture is being considered as an upset.
Kashima Antlers’ manager Masatada Ishii, captain Mitsuo Ogasawara, and the entire squad knows that they have created history and have etched their names in the record books. Kashima Antlers who had won the J1 league in 2016, had automatically qualified for the prestigious FIFA event, as the host entrant.