Kashima Antlers were crowned the 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League champions in astounding fashion on Saturday as they roared back to win 2-1 in the second leg of the Championship final against Urawa Reds.
Masatada Ishii’s men secured the club’s eighth title with a 2-2 scoreline on aggregate, clinching the title on away goals following the Reds 1-0 victory at Kashima Stadium on Tuesday.
In fact, even a 1-0 loss this weekend would have suited Mihailo Petrovic’s side, who contrived to falter on the big stage once more as they raced into a seventh-minute lead via Shinzo Koroki.
The striker opened the scoring with a beautiful volley from close range to appear to leave the writing on the wall, but Antlers had other plans and equalised through Mu Kanazaki who dived to head in before the break.
Buoyed by that, the visitors went looking for the winner and found it after Tomoaki Makino fouled Yuma Suzuki in the box for a penalty which Kanazaki duly converted, sealing his brace and Antlers a fairytale title.