Kashima Antlers came from behind to beat Guadalajara 3-2 and set up a FIFA Club World Cup semi-final with Real Madrid.
Winners of the 2018 AFC Champions League, Kashima fell behind three minutes into Saturday's encounter after Angel Zaldivar headed home from Isaac Brizuela's floated cross.
The crossbar came to Kashima's rescue when Orbelin Pineda tried his luck from distance on the stroke of half-time, and the J-League side took full advantage of their good fortune after the interval.
Ryota Nagaki made no mistake with a close-range finish after good work by Shoma Doi, who was the key to Kashima's second as he drew a clumsy foul in the box from Michael Perez.
Serginho tucked away the resulting penalty and Kashima doubled their advantage when Hiroki Abe curled home an exceptional finish six minutes from time.
I'm cheering on my friend Zico and his team, Kashiwa Antlers, in theiropening Club World Cup match against Chivas. Come on ! // Estou torcendo pelo meu amigo Zico e pelo seu time, Kashiwa Antlers, no primeiro jogo do Mundial de Clubes contra o Chivas. Vai Antlers! December 15, 2018
VAR was utilised to award Guadalajara a spot-kick and while Kwoun Sun-Tae made a fine save to deny Alan Pulido, Hugo Leonardo diverted the ball into his own net.
However, despite conceding deep into stoppage time, Kashima booked a tie with LaLiga giants Madrid on Wednesday.
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