Persepolis vs Kashima Antlers
Competition: AFC Champions League
Date: 10 November 2018
Kick-off: 16:00 CET
Kashima Antlers’ win last week, at home, in the first leg, was at just 1.50, so I preferred to bet on “under 2.5 goals” (1.72), suggesting “under 1.5” (3.00) as well, a much bigger risk, hence paying handsomely. I mentioned back then that if the game had any goal(s), I expected the hosts to score them, and they did. Two Brazilians, Léo Silva and Serginho, scored in the second half, giving Kashima a big advantage ahead of the return leg. Branko Ivanković, Persepolis’ coach, talked about his team’s “12th man”, their 80,000 fans who will fill Azadi Stadium to the brim. They will be there, to push Persepolis to their sixth win in seven home matches this year in the AFC CL (they drew with Al Sadd in the semifinal). Siemak Nemati, Persepolis’ 24-year-old winger, won’t be on the pitch, as he got sent-off in added time last week, for the… silliest reason possible; he pushed an opponent (for no reason; the Japanese had done nothing to him), he was already on a yellow card, and he paid for his loss of control. No game for Persepolis these last seven days. If they win the title, they’ll become the first Iranian club to succeed that, ever since the AFC CL got spectacularly revamped, in the early years of this century.
“Aggressive and balanced”. That’s how Go Oiwa, Kashima’s coach, wants his team to play/look. “We have to be economical in attack as well” he also said, pretty much… drawing what we should expect from Kashima in this game. They’ll focus on defending. If they find the chance to strike on a counterattack, they’ll go for it, but don’t expect to see 4-5 Kashima players inside Persepolis’ box, unless it’s a set-piece. Kashima were superior last week, won fairly, no matter if it was Persepolis who missed the biggest chance to score in the first half. Oiwa also talked about the crowd at Azadi Stadium, acknowledging that playing in front of 80,000 passionate fans is something that may… get to some players. Unlike Persepolis. Kashima played midweek, they beat Kashiwa Reysol 2-3 away from home in their championship, in Japan, despite playing with several reserves. They are third in the table there. Away from home in the AFC CL this year, they have three wins, two draws, and just one defeat, a 2-1 at Shanghai SIPG.
Previous five matches:
Kashima Antlers vs Persepolis 2-0
Saipa vs Persepolis 1-1
Persepolis vs Al Sadd 1-1
Persepolis vs Navad Urmia 1-0
Al Sadd vs Persepolis 0-1
Kashiwa Reysol vs Kashima Antlers 2-3
Kashima Antlers vs Persepolis 2-0
Kashima Antlers vs Cerezo Osaka 1-0
Suwon Bluewings vs Kashima Antlers 3-3
Urawa Reds vs Kashima Antlers 3-1
Persepolis’ next scheduled game is in two weeks. Kashima’s next game is also many days away, on November 21, versus Ventforet Kofu.
Persepolis vs Kashima Antlers: Head to head Stats
Persepolis have never hosted Kashima Antlers before.
Persepolis vs Kashima Antlers: Prediction
I expect Persepolis to win, but Kashima to lift the trophy.
Persepolis vs Kashima Antlers: Betting Tips
Persepolis’ win is at 2.40 (with their double chance at 1.40). Five out of Kashima’s six AFC CL away games this season have gone “over 2.5 goals”, and so have half of Persepolis’ home matches. “Over 2.5 goals” pays 2.10 (saves you from worrying about winners and losers), and combined with Persepolis’ win it goes up to 4.00. All three suit my 2-1 hunch.