The final of the Emperor’s Cup was held in January 1 2017, the Kashima Antlers played against the Kawasaki Frontale at Suita Stadium, Osaka Prefecture Japan. The Emperor’s Cup is a competition to decide the best football team in Japan, every member club of the Japan Football Association can participate in the tournament. So the cup is like the FA Cup, actually this competition started when the trophy was sent from the English Football Association. From 1919, this silver trophy was given to the champion of the cup. But the trophy has not existed because it was served to the Japanese army during the Second World War. After that, the English FA donated a replica of the cup to the Japan FA in 2011.
In the Semi-final, the Antlers played against the Yokohama F. Marinos at Yanmar Stadium Nagai on December 29 2016. Doi Shoma and Yu Suzuki got a goal in the match, the Antlers beat the Marinos 2 to 0 and and reached the final. At the same day, the Frontale played against the Omiya Ardija at Nissan Stadium. Shogo Taniguchi scored the winnner in 5 minutes before the end, the Frontale beat the Ardija 1 to 0 and reached the final for the first time. The Antlers and the Frontale also played in the semifinal of J-League the championship on November 2016. At that time, Mu Kanazaki got a goal and the Antlers beat the Frontale 1 to 0.
In the Final, the starting lineup of Antlers were almost same as the Semi-final. But Daigo Nishi and Yasushi Endo were in the starting lineup. Kanazaki was sick and did not enter the bench. And the starting lineup of the Frontale were almost same as the Semi-final. But Ryota Oshima was in the starting lineup for the first time in 2 months. The final is held every year on New Year’s Day, there were about 34,000 spectators in the stadium.
In the first half, both team attacked each other but didn’t break the deadlock. Then in the 42 minute, Shuto Yamamoto of the Antlers got a header goal to connect with Endo’s coner kick. The Antlers broke down the Frontale defence by Set piece, after all the first half was completed as score of 1 to 0.
In the start of the Second half, Yamamoto who broke the deadlock was replaced due to injury, so Hwang Seok-ho came off the bench. the Frontale also changed the players, Koji Miyoshi came off the bench. The Frontale replied that this turn. In the 54 minute, Yu Kobayashi scored a goal to connect with Miyoshi’s pass and the Frontale equalized with the Antlers. So the Antlers changed the players, Fabricio and Yuma Suzuki came off the bench. but finally both teams didn’t scored the goal, the second half was completed as score of 1 to 1.
In the extra time, the Kashima’s substitute player was active. Fabrício scored a goal in the 99 minute, the Antlers came from behind. After that, the match proceeded as same score so it was completed as score of 2 to 1. So the Antlers won the Emproy’s Cup for the first time in the last 5 years. It was the winning of 6th time for them. The Antlers also achieved a double crown with J-League Championship.
In the last month, the Antlers was the host nation’s national champions in 2016 and they participated in the FIFA Club World Cup Japan. The Antlers were a good fight, they beat the Atletico Nacional in the semi final and reached the final. In the Final, the Antlers were defeated the Real Madrid 4 to 2, but they became the second football club in the world. Because of that influence, the Antlers played 7 matches in December so the players of Antlers were considerably tired. Their Winner’s mentality led to victory in this match.
This youtube’s video is the semi final of the Kashima Antlers vs. the Yokohama F. Marinos. The Antlers won the 19th title in the Emperor’s Cup.