Guangzhou Evergrande vs Kashima Antlers
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 28 August 2019
Kick-off: 14:00 CET
Guangzhou Evergrande are considered – by betting companies and most probably a good number of football fans across Asia as well – top favourites to lift the AFC Champions League trophy later this year, but their coach, Fabio Cannavaro, insisted these last days, talking to reporters, that Kashima Antlers have to be taken very-very seriously. Be reminded, they are the reigning AFC CL champions, after beating Persepolis last year in the double final. Guangzhou’s last game was on Thursday, an unexpected 1-1 draw at home with Chongqing Dangdai Lifan. How “unexpected”? “Evergrande had 13 wins in a row(!) in the Chinese Super League before last Thursday’s draw. THAT unexpected”. They remain leaders, five points ahead of second-placed Beijing Guoan, with seven rounds of matches left. CSL and AFC CL matches-aside, it was Elkeson, the Brazilian striker who returned to Guangzhou relatively recently, who made headlines these last days; Marcelo Lippi, China’s national coach, called him up for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers, making him the first non-Chinese player to put on the shirt of the country’s national team. There have been some coming from mixed families, but Elkeson (fully eligible to play for China, having spent a… lifetime there) is the first of his… kind (non-Chinese, 100%).
Few (if any; probably only their own fans) believed that Kashima Antlers would go… all the way last season in the AFC Champions League, but after eliminating Shanghai SIPG in the round of 16, they simply… kept going, until they beat Persepolis as well, in the double final. It’s rather safe to claim that they are considered similarly underdogs now, especially having Guangzhou Evergrande opposite them. Back in June, they eliminated compatriots Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the round of 16, thanks to the away goal rule. One important thing that changed since then, is… who runs the club. Late July, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp stepped aside (well, they still own 11% of the shares), with Japanese e-commerce company Mercari taking over (they now own 61.6% of the shares). Kashima’s last game was on Friday, they drew 2-2 at home with Gamba Osaka. Go Oiwa’s team are second in the J1 League table, four points behind leaders FC Tokyo.
Previous five matches:
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Chongqing Dangdai Lifan 1-1
Beijing Guoan vs Guangzhou Evergrande 1-3
Shandong Luneng vs Guangzhou Evergrande 0-3
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Beijing Renhe 3-0
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Shanghai SIPG 0-2
Kashima Antlers vs Gamba Osaka 2-2
Oita Trinita vs Kashima Antlers 0-1
Kashima Antlers vs Tochigi 4-0
Kashima Antlers vs Yokohama F. Marinos 2-1
Shonan Bellmare vs Kashima Antlers 3-2
Evergrande’s next scheduled game is on September 13, at Jiangsu Suning (Chinese Super League). Kashima are visiting Shimizu S-Pulse on Sunday (J1 League).
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Kashima Antlers: Head to head Stats
Evergrande have hosted Kashima twice before; they beat them 4-3 in 2015 (AFC Champions League group stage), and then again in 2017, 1-0, in the round of 16.
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Kashima Antlers: Prediction
I do respect Kashima for what they did last – and of course this – season, but I still expect Guangzhou to win this one.
Guangzhou Evergrande vs Kashima Antlers: Betting Tips
A simple Evergrande win is at 1.55. Combined with “under 3.5 goals” it pays much better, 2.40.