Kashima Antlers vs Muang Thong United
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 10 May 2017
Kick-off: 12:00 CET
Kashima Antlers have already qualified, their resounding 4-0 win at Ulsan two weeks ago secured them a spot in the last 16 of the competition, so what is at stake in this game is the top spot in the group table. Kashima have by far the best scoring record in the group (11 goals), having found the net almost double times what leaders Muang Thong United and third-placed Ulsan have. They’ve won both games at home so far by a total score of 5-0. After beating Ulsan 4-0 in Korea two weeks ago, they went on to beat Sagan Tosu as well, and, last Thursday, they got a massive win at Urawa Reds, leaving them at second. Kashima are now leaders in the J-League, looking better than ever before since the start of the season.
Muang Thong United remain the only undefeated team in the group, having won all three games at home, and drawn 0-0 both times they left Thailand, to travel to Ulsan and Brisbane. They have conceded just one goal in five group games, and are proud to have the best defensive record among all 32 teams that are competing in the group stage. If not for anything else, then just for bragging rights, the Thai side would love to finish the group games undefeated, preserving their ‘best defence’ title. After beating Brisbane Roar 3-0 two weeks ago, they continued their… show in the Thai league, picking up nine points in three games, by a total score of 11-2. Teerasil Dangda scored five of those 11 goals. They are leaders in Thailand, with seven points more than second-placed Buriram United and Chiangrai United. What’s really impressive about Muang Thong United’s run of great results, is that they have been playing for weeks now with important players missing, mostly due to injuries. Just last Saturday they beat Navy 4-0 at home, playing again without suspended Japanese midfielder Naoaki Aoyama and injured Spanish striker Xisco Jimenez. Somehow they continuously find a way to deal with missing players, even though the game at Kashima is obviously at a totally different level to facing… Navy and Suphanburi in Thailand.
Kashima Antlers vs Muang Thong United: Head-to-head Stats
Muang Thong United beat Kashima 2-1 at home earlier this season, in the first game ever between these two teams.
Kashima Antlers vs Muang Thong United: Prediction
Kashima are in excellent form, and even though Muang Thong United have been awesome in the group, in this specific game I expect the Japanese side to win.
Kashima Antlers vs Muang Thong United: Tips
A simple Kashima win pays just 1.40. Muang Thong United have been impressive defensively in the group so far, but in a game where none of the two teams will have any pressure, since both have already qualified, I expect things to be a bit more… loose, defensively, so I’m backing Kashima to win in a game that will have at least three goals. This pays 2.10.