The FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 has started from December 8 in Japan. In this competition, the winners of this year’s AFC Champions League (Jeonbuk), CAF Champions League (Mamelodi Sundowns), CONCACAF Champions League (Club America), Copa Libertadores (Atletico Nacional), OFC Champions League (Auckland City) and UEFA Champions League (Real Madrid), along with the host nation’s national champions（Kashima Antlers）participate in a straight knock-out tournament. The Antlers won the 2016 J.League Championship on December 3 and got the right to participate in this tournament.
The 1st round of the tournament was held in December 8 at Nissan Stadium, Kanagawa Prefecture. There was the match of the Auckland City vs the Kashima Antlers. The starting members of Antlers were almost the same as the 2nd leg of J.League Championship final on December 3. But Mu kanazaki was injured his left foot, so Fabrício was the starting member. In the first half, the Antlers actively attacked, but they could not got a goal. The Auckland City almost did not make a chance. But in the 50th minute of second half, Auckland City scored a first goal. So the Antlers changed the players, Kanazaki and Shuhei Akasaki came off the bench. Then in the 67th minute, Akasaki scored the goal to convert the cross by Yasushi Endo, the Antlers got even. And in the 88th minute, Kanazaki got a header goal. Finally, the second half was completed as score of 2 to 1. So the Antlers beat the Auckland City and reached the Quarter-final.
The Quarter-final was held in December 11 at Suita City Football Stadium, Osaka Prefecture. There was the match of the Mamelodi Sundowns vs the Antlers. In the Antlers, Akasaki, Naomichi Ueda and Atsutaka Nakamura were the starting members and the other players were the same as the 1st round. In the first half, the Mamelodi Sundowns actively attacked, but they could not got a goal. The Antlers almost did not make a chance and could not shoot. But in the 63th minute of second half, Endo scored a opener and the Antlers led the match. And in the 88th minute, Kanazaki who came off the bench in the second half scored a clincher. So the Antlers beat the Mamelodi Sundowns 2 to 0 and reached the Semi-final.
The Semi-final was held in December 14 at Suita City Football Stadium. There was the match of the Atletico Nacional vs the Antlers. The Atletico Nacional were supposed to play with the Chapecoense in the final of Copa Sudamericana. But the Chapecoense died most players in an airplane accident and the Atletico Nacional came to Japan with sadness. So the silent prayer was dedicated before the Semi final. The starting members of Antlers were almost the same as the Quarter final and Mitsuo Ogasawara was the starting member.
In this tournament, the referees was allowed to get help from video replays. This is the first time in the FIFA competition. Then the video replays was used for the first time in the 30th minute of first half. As a result, Daigo Nishi of the Antlers was knocked so the Antlers got a chance of penalty kick. Shouma Doi converted a penalty calmly as usual, the Antlers led the match with 1 to 0. But after that, the Atletico Nacional actively attacked and the Antlers became defensive against one side. In the Second half, the Atletico Nacional’s attacks continued but the Antlers kept a clean sheet. And in the 83th minute, Endo scored a goal by heel kick, the Antlers took the lead 2 to 0. Then in the 85th minute, Yuma Suzuki scored the clincher to convert the cross by Kanazaki. Finally, the Antlers beat the Atletico Nacional 3 to 0.
So the Antlers reached the final, this was the first time for Japanese club and Asian club. An other semi-final will be hold in December 15 at Nissan Stadium, the Real Madrid will play with the Club America. The winners of this match will play with the Antlers in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016. The final will be hold in December 18 at Nissan Stadium.
This youtube’s video is the semi-final of the Antlers vs. the Atletico Nacional. The Antlers’s dream are still going on!