Yuma Suzuki sealed a dramatic 3-2 victory for Kashima Antlers against Urawa Reds in Saturday’s 2017 FUJI XEROX SUPER CUP.
The 2016 Japanese champions picked up their first silverware of the new year with the win over the side they beat en route to lifting their league title last term.
Yasushi Endo struck twice late in the first half to set Antlers on their way, blasting home a free-kick for the opener before notching his second four minutes later tucking home the rebound after Mu Kanazaki hit the post.
Reds were far from out of the tie, though, and roared back in the space of two minutes in the second half.
Shinzo Koroki pulled one back for Mihailo Petrovic’s men in the 74th minute and Takahiro Sekine equalised after Zlatan Ljubijankic’s effort came back off the post moments later.
Despite their fightback, Suzuki capitalised on chaos at the heart of Reds’ defence owing to Wataru Endo’s hesitation to ruthlessly net Antlers’ winner in the 83rd minute.
The victory for Masatada Ishii’s men represents their first SUPER CUP win since 2010, setting them up nicely for the start of their MEIJI YASUDA J1 League title defence against FC Tokyo on February 25.