Kashima Antlers 2 Auckland City 1: Late Kanazaki header the difference
Substitute Mu Kanazaki netted a late winner to help Kashima Antlers to a 2-1 win over Auckland City in Thursday's Club World Cup clash in Yokohama, setting up a quarter-final encounter with African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Things were looking good for Auckland when Kim Dae-wook handed them a surprise lead early in the second half, but Shuhei Akasaki quickly restored parity, before Kanazaki made the difference with three minutes left on the clock.
Kashima dominated early on, but the first chance of the match fell to Auckland in the 17th minute after some good work from Ryan De Vries down the left. His cross eventually found Emiliano Tade inside the area, only for the Argentinian to fire his left-footed shot straight at goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata.
Masatada Ishii's men could have gone a goal up in the 25th minute when some poor defending from Takuya Iwata sent Yasushi Endo clean through on Enaut Zubikarai, but the Auckland goalkeeper reacted well to keep the scoreline goalless.
Auckland made a superb start to the second half and Kim handed his side the lead in the 50th minute. Tade curled in a dangerous free-kick from the right and the South Korean defender beat his marker to the ball before heading past the helpless Sogahata.
Kashima immediately went in search of the equaliser and they eventually got their goal halfway through the second half, substitute Akasaki coolly slotting home after a superb team move.
The Auckland defence then did well to keep their opponents at bay until the 87th minute, but their Club World Cup hopes came to an abrupt end when Kanazaki beat Zubikarai with a header from close range after some good work from Shoma Doi.