Half-time pep talk re­vi­tal­izes Kashima

Tehran Times - - SPORTS -

Go Oiwa’s half-time pep talk had the de­sired ef­fect as Kashima Antlers bounced back from a lethar­gic open­ing 45 min­utes to score a 2-0 win over Perse­po­lis in the first leg of the 2018 AFC Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal on Satur­day.

The ca­pac­ity crowd at the Kashima Soc­cer Sta­dium had en­dured a ner­vous first-half as Is­lamic Re­pub­lic of Iran’s Perse­po­lis took the match to the home team, with the Cen­tral Asians un­lucky not to have taken the lead on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions.

A more set­tled Kashima were able to con­trol the match bet­ter in the sec­ond half and Brazil­ian duo Leo Silva and Serginho struck one each for the Ja­pa­nese side to take a 2-0 lead into next Satur­day’s re­turn leg at Tehran’s Azadi Sta­dium.

“I stressed to the play­ers dur­ing the break that we had not played to our nor­mal stan­dard from the first blow of the whis­tle in the first half,” said Oiwa.

“Perse­po­lis were very pos­i­tive and ag­gres­sive while we were slightly neg­a­tive in our play.”

Perse­po­lis cer­tainly started brightly as they pinned Kashima in their own half and the Ira­ni­ans had more looks on goal than the Ja­pa­nese side did.

Oiwa said he told his play­ers to play a more at­tack­ing game in the sec­ond half.

“We were too de­fen­sive in the first half and this al­lowed Perse­po­lis to come at us. We changed that in the sec­ond half.

“We pushed for­ward more, used our flanks more freely which stretched their de­fence. This al­lowed us to go through the mid­dle and cre­ate chances and score.”

Oiwa de­scribed his team’s sec­ond half per­for­mance as ideal but said Kashima can’t yet think that they have their hands on a first ever AFC Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle.

“This was just the first half and we need to fo­cus on the sec­ond leg and our J League chal­lenge as well. It was good to have won but we must con­cen­trate on get­ting ready for the sec­ond leg.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.