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Kashima beats Auckland City 2-1 in opener of Club World Cup

December 8, 2016
Kashima Antlers' Mu Kanazaki (33) scores a goal against Auckland City during their match at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Kashima Antlers' Mu Kanazaki (33) scores a goal against Auckland City during their match at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Japanese champion Kashima Antlers beat Auckland City of New Zealand 2-1 in the opening game of the Club World Cup on Thursday.

Kim Dae-wook headed Auckland ahead five minutes after halftime, but substitute Shuhei Akasaki equalized for the J-League champions in the 67th minute.

Fellow sub Mu Kanazaki then completed the comeback in the 88th, heading home from close range after Shoma Doi nodded a deep Shuto Yamamoto cross from the left back.

“We sent on the strikers as we needed to get goals,” Kashima coach Masatada Ishii said. “In the first half we hadn’t really been able to take many shots at goal and both the players who came on have that ability and a strong focus on trying to score.

“In particular, Kanazaki has been in good form of late and had scored in the last few games, so that’s why I decided to send him on,” Ishii added.

Kashima advanced to a quarterfinal against African champion Mamelodi Sundowns in Osaka on Sunday.

The winner of that game will face Copa Libertadores winner Atletico Nacional in the semifinals Wednesday. European powerhouse Real Madrid also enters the tournament from the semifinal stage.

The use of video replays was available during the match but there were no official reviews. The technology is there to be used only for correcting clear errors in game-changing decisions.

The game was preceded by a moment of silence to mark the recent Chapecoense plane tragedy.

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