Japan's Kashima Antlers pledged to keep their focus and finish
off Persepolis in the Asian Champions League final as they head
to Tehran's imposing Azadi Stadium with a 2-0 advantage from the
The eight-time Japanese champions go into the game with a handy
cushion but they will face a test of nerve as well as skill at
the 78,000-capacity Azadi, arguably the region's most
Second-half goals from Brazilian duo Leo Silva and Serginho, who
scored his fifth in five Champions League appearances, gave
Kashima a convincing win last week on home soil.
But defender Shuto Yamamoto said an opening goal from Persepolis
in Tehran would turn the tie upside down on Saturday as both
teams bid to lift the trophy for the first time.
"I believe it's important we don't concede the first goal,
because if they score first they will build on that momentum.
With that in mind I really want to focus at the beginning of the
match," Yamamoto said, according to the Asian Football
"Of course, we don't want to concede and so having a strong
defence and keeping an awareness of risk management is vital. But
to win the game, one goal can change the situation entirely.
"Having a strong defence is a must, but when we have the
opportunity to we will also look to score. This will be our
style, I think."
With tickets virtually sold out, the game will set a new
attendance record, eclipsing the second leg of the 2014 final
when 63,763 watched Al Hilal and Western Sydney Wanderers at
Riyadh's King Fahd International Stadium.
A fervent home atmosphere will boost the chances of Branko
Ivankovic's team mounting another comeback, after they erased a
two-goal deficit against Qatar's Al Duhail to reach the
"I never experienced playing in front of that many spectators
before, so I am feeling excited to have the opportunity to do
so," said Yamamoto.
"It will be a rare experience, but at the same time we want to
win this game so we will do our best as a team."
Silva also said Kashima would have to be on their guard in
Tehran, warning that "nothing is finished yet".
"We all worked together and did everything we needed to today,
but now we have to make sure we keep our concentration and make
sure that in the end we take the title," he said after last