Kashima defend J. League Cup with extra-time win over Shimizu

Kashima Antlers won the J. League Nabisco Cup for the second straight year and the fifth time overall on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Shimizu S-Pulse after extra time in the final at the National Stadium in Tokyo.
 Shibasaki Gaku, who was named the MVP of the match, scored the winning goal in the 93rd minute, his second of the day following a 73rd minute penalty.
 With the victory, Kashima will play against the winners of the Copa Sudamericana in the 2013 Suruga Bank Championship next summer.
 “I’d like to congratulate my players. This is a product of their hard work,” said Kashima boss Jorginho. The former Brazil international won his first title as coach in his first season at Kashima.
Shimizu, seeking their first League Cup since 1996, took control of most of the first half, winning the ball by pressuring their opponents.
The team from Shizuoka Prefecture came close in the 14th minute when Takagi Toshiyuki pounced on a Kashima clearance and hit from inside the box, but Kashima goalkeeper Sogahata Hitoshi produced a good save. Takagi made another attempt, from close range halfway through the half, but that was denied by a Kashima defender.
Kashima used Shoji Gen instead of Araiba Toru at left-back to take care of Shimizu attacker Omae Genki.
 The game came to life after the break. Kashima, who last won the league cup last year, found better pace with the arrival of Brazilian attacker Dutra in place of Koroki Shinzo.
 The team from Ibaraki Prefecture got their chance in the 73rd minute after Dutra took a pass from Endo Yasushi and fed Shibasaki. The 20-year-old midfielder was brought down in the box and he converted the penalty to put Kashima 1-0 up.
 Their joy didn’t last long as Shimizu were awarded a penalty four minutes later when Yasuhiro Hiraoka was fouled when competing for a corner. Omae successfully made the spot kick for the equalizer.
 After the two teams failed to find a second goal before the end of 90 minutes, the game went into extra time.
 Three minutes into extra time, Shibasaki received a fine cross-field ball from Masuda Chikashi and fired home from the right side of the box to put Kashima 2-1 up.
 Kashima then went on to threaten the Shimizu goal with more good attempts from Masuda, Osako Yuya, Shibasaki and Endo.
 Shimizu attempted to rally, bringing on forward Senuma Yuji from the bench, while Takagi Toshiyuki making a couple of good efforts with his right foot.
 “Shimizu is a wonderful side, with good passing work, momentum and speed, but our players erased the good parts of their game well,” Jorginho commented.
 Asked about his first success at Kashima as coach, Jorginho said, “I’m fortunate to have won this title as a player and a coach. But this is not the end; I’d like to work hard to win other titles. The more important thing is the motivation of our players. I want them to get motivated to win a title again.”
 Shimizu manager Afshin Ghotbi commented, “Including our staff and players, everybody gave their best and made efforts to be prepared to give a good performance today. For most of the game we were in control, but unfortunately we lacked the efficiency in front of the goal to make our chances count.
“Kashima did well on counter attacks were dangerous, and they scored. We had enough chances to win after we equalized. Overall, I am disappointed with our performance in overtime and we suffered a very bad goal at the beginning of the overtime. We tried out best to come back but it wasn’t meant to be.”