Defending champions Kashima Antlers handed first defeat by Gyeongnam FC

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Reigning champions Kashima Antlers have suffered their first loss of AFC Champions League 2019 after losing 1-0 to Gyeongnam FC on Wednesday.

Following a goalless first half at the Kashima Soccer Stadium, the deadlock was broken in the 63rd minute when Jordon Mutch swung a deep cross to the back post which was misjudged by opposition keeper Kwoun Sun-tae, leaving Takahiro Kunimoto with a simple task of steering a shot home from point-blank range.

Kashima had their fair share of chances to equalise but were just unable to find a way past a resilient Gyeongnam, who held out for their first-ever ACL win in their debut campaign.

With Shandong Luneng and Johor Darul Ta’zim still to play on Wednesday, it is Kashima who are still top of Group E despite suffering their first continental loss of the season but now run the risk of losing first spot to the Chinese Super League side.

KASHIMA ANTLERS: Kwoun Sun-tae, Itsuki Oda, Ikuma Sekigawa, Kento Misao, Koki Anzai, Ryota Nagaki, Shintaro Nago (Sho Ito 79′), Yasushi Endo (Kazuma Yamaguchi 72’), Serginho, Ryohei Shirasaki (Hiroki Abe 63’), Takeshi Kanamori.

GYEONGNAM FC: Lee Bum-soo, Woo Joo-sung, Lee Kwang-seon, Kim Jong-pil, Choi Jae-soo (Ahn Sung-nam 54’), Jordon Mutch, Takahiro Kunimoto, Ko Kyung-min (Lee Kwang-jin 62’), Kim Seung-jun, Negueba (Bae Ki-jong 62’), Kim Hyo-gi.