We will not let Real Madrid score, says Antlers' coach Go Oiwa

We will not let Real Madrid score, says Antlers coach Go Oiwa
Kashima Antlers' Serginho celebrates with teammates after scoring a penalty against CD Guadalajara.

Abu Dhabi - The two sides do have a history on the Club World Cup stage

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 18 Dec 2018, 9:10 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Dec 2018, 11:14 PM

'Saru mo ki kara ochiru' goes a Japanese saying which translates as 'Even monkeys fall from trees'. On Wednesday evening, Asian champions Kashima Antlers will be hoping that Real Madrid, the masters of the game from Spain, will commit a costly mistake that leads to their downfall in the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018 semis.
The two sides do have a history on the Club World Cup stage. It was on Dec. 18 of 2016 that Kashima, then hosts, took on Real Madrid in the final at the International Stadium Yokohama. The match ended 2-2 level after regulation time but Cristiano Ronaldo fired a brace in extra time to take the trophy to Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid retained the trophy in 2017 edition too and now set eyes on a third consecutive title. If they win, Real Madrid will overtake Barcelona with most Club World Cup trophies. Real, though, aren't in best of form with loss to CSKA Moscow and poor show versus Rayo Vallecano last week. And Kashima with the disappointment of 2016 presents a difficult opponent.
So can Kings of Asia topple Spanish giants?
Kashima Antlers coach Go Oiwa, however, downplayed his team's chances.
"Real Madrid are still Real Madrid. They will be as strong as they were two years ago. I don't know if we are any closer to winning than we were two years ago. We will do our best. We will play until the end."
Oiwa said Real remained a dangerous side even without Ronaldo.
"They have many players in attack that we have to pay attention. Our job is to make sure that we don't allow any of their forwards to score. I cannot really measure how much of a loss Ronaldo is to Real Madrid, we just have to work hard not to concede any goals."
"We are representing Japan, we are representing Asia. It is about fighting as a group and doing everything together as a group. We want good connection between defence, midfield and attack."
Midfielder Shoma Doi said the team will fight till last minute and never give up. "The opposition is Real Madrid but that doesn't mean we must change the way we play. We want to show our aggression, organisational strength, power of unity we have as a group. Hopefully it will be a special day for us."
Meanwhile, Real coach Santiago Solari is confident about victory.
"We have won this before and we are going to try to win it again. Kashima are a lot more experienced than two years ago, they are continental champions. They play direct football. They have fast-paced strikers. It is going to be a beautiful match. I have followed this tournament for a long time, in different confederations and I don't underestimate any team."
Marcelo Vieira said players were hungry to win more titles. "That feeling motivates us as a group. Wearing the Real Madrid shirt is motivation in itself to win."
Real Madrid will play Kashima Antlers at Zayed Sports City (8.30 pm).

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