Sundowns lost to Kashima Antlers in Club World Cup quarter-final
Sundowns were exempted from the opening round of the tournament while Kashima legitimately earned their quarter-finals spot with a 2-1 victory over OFC Champions League winners Auckland City.
The South African side were dominant in the early stages of the encounter. In the seventh minute, Khama Billiat created the first clear opportunity after getting the better of Gen Shoji before cutting the cross to Leonardo Castro who failed to make contact to open the scoring.
Moments later, goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata was forced to make back-to-back saves from efforts made by Percy Tau and Karma Billiant.
The African champions dominated the entire opening half as Sogahata persisted being outstanding between the sticks.
After subduing several attacks in the first half, the J-league Champions came out of the shell with Yasushi Endo getting close on two occasions.
There was more danger in Sundowns’ eighteen yard box as Daigo Nishi’s low header looked to be destined for goal, thanks to Wayne Arendse who headed it off the line to keep the scoreline even.
Kashima continued to mount pressure and it paid off in the 63rd minute when Endo converted a low strike past Sundowns’ keeper Denis Onyango who had a slight touch on the ball before fumbling into the net.
Kashima put the final nail to the coffin in the 88th minute when Mu Kanazaki fired home from an assist by Yuma Suzuki to ensure a semi-final spot for his side.
Kashima Antlers will play against Copa Libertadores Champions Atletico Nacional on Wednesday for a place in the final, while Club America and Real Madrid face off in the other semi-final clash on Thursday.
Mamelodi Sundowns will face AFC Champions league winners Jeonbuk Hyundai, who lost in the quarter-final to Club America, for the fifth/sixth place playoff.
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