Kashima Antlers opened the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 with a dramatic 2-1 win over Oceania representatives Auckland City in the tournament’s play-in match.
The J.League representatives pushed hard in the first half at International Stadium Yokohama but struggled to create chances on goal.
After the first half ended scoreless, Auckland shocked the crowd of over 17,000 by scoring the opening goal in the 50th minute through Kim Dae-uk’s header.
Kashima manager Masatada Ishii responded by bringing on Shuhei Akasaki and Mu Kanazaki in a pair of game-changing substitutions.
Akasaki netted the equaliser in the 67th minute off Ryota Nagaki’s assist, while Kanazaki headed in the game-winner in the 88th minute to secure the come-from-behind victory.
The result sees the J.League champions advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face African champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday night at Suita Stadium in Osaka.
The winner of that match earns the right to take on South American champions Atletico Nacional.