Kashima Antlers vs Guangzhou Evergrande
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 30 May 2017
Kick-off: 12:00 CET
Kashima Antlers came close to leaving Guangzhou with a precious 0-0 draw last week, but 15 minutes from time they conceded a goal that puts them in a very tricky position. They need to score, but they need to stay focused defensively as well, because Guangzhou Evergrande have the players not just to score against you, not just to beat you, but to… destroy you. A good thing for the Japanese side is that they didn’t have a game in their domestic league the last weekend, meaning that they had a whole week to prepare for the return leg against Guangzhou.
Last week I backed Guangzhou not just to beat Kashima, but to do so while also keeping a clean sheet. They did, 1-0, and paid the 3.10 this combination came with. Last weekend, their Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, chose to rest some regulars in their CSL game against Chongqing Dangdai Lifan. Left winger Alan got into the game after the 60th minute, while former Tottenham player Paulinho watched the game from the stand. Out of Guangzhou’s three Brazilians, only secondary striker Ricardo Goulart started the game, and he was actually the most influential player, scoring once and assisting Yu Hanchao in his goal.
Kashima Antlers vs Guangzhou Evergrande: Head-to-head Stats
Kashima Antlers have hosted Guangzhou Evergrande once before, in 2015. It was an AFC Champions League group match, and the hosts won 2-1.
Kashima Antlers vs Guangzhou Evergrande: Prediction
Kashima have lost three games in a row, both in the Japanese league and the AFC Champions League, scoring just one goal, and conceding six. They have lost four of their last six games at home, failing to score in half of those. Guangzhou have won ten of their last eleven games, and even the one… missing, was a draw (to Suwon Bluewings). They haven’t conceded in their last two games, while maintaining a… decent scoring record. All in all, I can’t imagine the visitors not scoring, at least once, and deep down I expect them to leave Japan undefeated.
Kashima Antlers vs Guangzhou Evergrande: Tips
‘Draw or Guangzhou Evergrande’ is at 1.53. Kashima are considered favorites to win, but not that much. For something over 2.00, my top choice is ‘under 2.5 goals’, which pays 2.10. I expect Scolari’s team to act… cynical, take zero risks going forward, make sure to keep a clean sheet, or concede maximum one goal. On the other hand, I don’t expect them to score more than once.