JINAN, China (Rahnuma): Defending champions Kashima Antlers got two goals from substitute Sho Ito in two minutes to beat Shandong Luneng 2-1 in the last group match of the 2019 AFC Champions League Wednesday, securing a berth in the Round of 16 as Group E runners-up.
The Kashima Antlers must get at least a draw to make the next stage, so they played for a win from the very beginning. However, the visitors Luneng scored first in the 11th minute with a header from Marouane Fellaini.
The host missed several chances before Ito came on in the 63rd minute; he earned an equalizer just five minutes later. Less than two minutes later, the Kashima Antlers broke Luneng’s defence and Ito scored the winner in time to ensure their next stage.
Despite the defeat, Group E leaders Shandong will take on fellow Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande in the last 16 next month, while Kashima will take on fellow J. League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima.