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J1 League: Kashima Antlers Win The League On Away Goals

SAITAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 03: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Shigeru Ibata,chairman of Kashima Antlers lifts the schale after winning the J.League Championship Final second leg match between Urawa Red Diamonds and Kashima Antlers at Saitama Stadium on December 3, 2016 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
J1 League: Kashima Antlers Win The League On Away Goals

Masatada Ishii’s Kashima Antlers have won the 2016 Meiji Yasuda J1 League season on away goals in the Championship Series. Champions of the first stage with a record of 12-3-2 (39 points), the Antlers took it easy with a second stage record of 6-2-9 (20 points) for an overall record of 18-5-11 (59 points). After defeating Yahiro Kazama’s Kawasaki Frontale 1-0 in the semifinals on a 50th minute goal from Mu Kanazaki on Nov. 23 at the Todoroki Stadium, the Antlers defeated Mihailo Petrovic’s Urawa Red Diamonds 2-1 on away goals following a 2-2 aggregate draw.

In the first leg on Nov. 29 at the Kashima Soccer Stadium, a 57th minute goal from Yuki Abe gave Urawa a 1-0 lead in the first leg. On Dec. 3, Shinzo Koroki’s seventh minute goal powered Urawa to a 1-0 lead in the second leg. But a brace from Kanazeki in the 40th and 79th minutes were enough to give the Antlers their eighth league title. Here is the list of honors that Kashima have earned thus far.

Sumitomo Soccer Club (Amateur era)

Shakaijin Cup
Winners (1): 1973
Japan Soccer League Division 2
Champions (2): 1984, 1986–1987

Kashima Antlers (Professional era)

J.League:
Champions (8): 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016
J.League 1° stage
Winners (2): 1993, 1997
J.League 2° stage
Winners (3): 1998, 2000, 2001
Emperor’s Cup:
Winners (4): 1997, 2000, 2007, 2010
J. League Cup:
Winners (6): 1997, 2000, 2002, 2011, 2012, 2015
Japanese Super Cup:
Winners (5): 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009, 2010

International

A3 Champions Cup:
Winners (1): 2003
Suruga Bank Championship:
Winners (2): 2012, 2013

 

“I’m so happy,” Ishii said. “Regardless of how the overall league table finished, we knew that the team that won the J. League Championship would win the title. I’m delighted that we were able to do it. This is a result of the strength of the players and everyone connected with the club. All I can say is how happy I am. I’m so proud of the players.”

“We would have liked to have finished top of the overall table but the rules are the rules and a win is a win,” said Antlers midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara. “The most important thing was to all stick together like we did tonight. We all believed in each other, helped each other out and did everything we could to win. I think that part of our game showed tonight. I’m really happy but it’s also an important title in terms of putting us on the road to winning more. I think we can get even stronger.”

 

“We had ups and downs all year,” Kanazaki added. “But I’m happy that we were able to finish it off in the best way possible.”

However, Kashima aren’t done just yet. Following the FIFA Club World Cup (they start with a play-in game against Oceanian club champions Auckland City FC), the Antlers host Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Dec. 24 in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Emperor’s Cup.

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@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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