Kashima Antlers moved to the brink of the AFC Champions League's knockout phase by beating Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 today.
Two goals from forward Shinzo Koroki took the Japanese heavyweights on to nine points in Group H, three clear of Suwon Bluewings, who are poised to play Sydney FC.
The 24-year-old forward opened the scoring with a header shortly after the half-hour mark, from a free-kick swung in by captain Mitsuo Ogasawara.
Everyone involved with Kashima hoped we would win today. I'm very glad that we were able to live up to their expectations.
Shanghai improved after the break as rain began to fall, but Kashima doubled their lead ten minutes before full-time when Koroki scored after visiting goalkeeper Wang Dalei failed to hold an effort from Fellype Gabriel.
"Everyone involved with Kashima hoped we would win today," said coach Oswaldo de Oliveira afterwards. "I'm very glad that we were able to live up to their expectations.
"The [Suwon-Sydney] game will be played this evening, so we have put pressure on them. If we can finish top in the group phase, we will have home advantage [in the knockout phase]."