ACL report: Kashima Antlers


Get to know a little more about Melbourne Victory’s opponent in the AFC Champions League Qualifying Play-off, Kashima Antlers.

Following a convincing 5-0 win over Bali United, Victory travels to Japan aiming to secure AFC Champions League qualification for the eighth time in its history.

Its host, Kashima Antlers, won the competition in 2018 and will be hoping to compete in Asia for a fourth consecutive season.

The winner of the play-off will obtain a place in Group E alongside, Thailand’s Chiangrai United, China’s Beijing FC and the winner of FC Seoul v Kedah.


Match details

Kashima Antlers v Melbourne Victory
Kashima Soccer Stadium
Tuesday, January 28
Kick-off: 9:00pm (AEDT)

How did Kashima qualify?

After finishing third in the 2019 J1 League season, Kashima gained a chance of AFC Champions League qualification via the play-offs; without a preliminary game.

Kashima would have qualified for the group stages automatically, had it beat Vissel Kobe in Japan’s Emperor’s Cup Final.

However, cup final defeat has left the Antlers with only one route and with Melbourne Victory in its path.


Key players

Brazilian midfielder, Leo Silva lifted the AFC Champions League with Kashima in 2018 and scored the opening goal in the first leg of the final. The 34-year-old has played in Japan’s top flight since 2013, making over 180 J1 League appearances.

National team legend, Atsuto Uchida returned to his boyhood club in 2018, after making over 100 appearances for Bundesliga side, FC Schalke. Uchida has represented Japan 74 times, but hasn’t featured in Kashima’s last three fixtures.

Recent form

Kashima has won two of its last five fixtures, including a 3-2 semi-final win over V-Varen Nagasaki.

Vissel Kobe 2 – 0 Kashima Antlers (Emperor’s Cup Final)
Kashima Antlers 3 – 2 V-Varen Nagasaki (Emperor’s Cup Semi-Final)
Nagoya Grampus 0 – 2 Kashima Antlers
Kashima Antlers 1 – 3 Vissel Kobe
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 0 – 0 Kashima Antlers