Kashima Antlers take on the visitors Shanghai Shenhua at “Kashima Soccer Stadium” in the first round of the AFC Champions League. The game will be played in Kashima on Wednesday, February 14th.
Kashima Antlers are the most titled football club of Japan which has no decent opponents in the domestic tournaments. Last season the side occupied the second place in the J-League standings with 72 points earned after 34 encounters played, having gained the equal number of points with the champion. Kashima Antlers have shown very strong performance in attack, having scored 53 goals unlike their defense which had face many problems and made numerous mistakes resulted in 31 goals conceded. In the latest fights conducted at “Kashima Soccer Stadium” the club has got 0:0 draw against Kawasaki Frontale together with two victories over Urawa Reds 1-0 and Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0.
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Shanghai Shenhua have hardly managed to qualify to the AFC Champions League and in this season the side demonstrates extremely poor football. “The White Devils” currently settle on the 11th position in the Chinese Super League table with 35 points taken after 30 matchdays behind. The club’s offense is doing quite well with 52 scored goals while its defense looks much weaker, having conceded 55 goals already. In the previous away battles Shanghai Shenhua have lost to Shanghai SIPG 2:3, deserved 1:1 draw against Chongqing Lifan and thrashed Liaoning 4:1.
Last time the rivals met in 2011, therefore, there is no sense in referring to that result. It cannot be said that at the moment Kashima Antlers are in a great shape, however, Shanghai Shenhua show awful competitive form, consequently, the hosts have slightly better chances to pick up three points in upcoming fight.
Prediction for the match: Kashima Antlers to win.