Kashima lift Super Cup
Kashima Antlers edged Emperor's Cup holders Gamba Osaka 5-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw to win the Xerox Super Cup at the National Stadium in Tokyo.
Yasuhito Endo missed the first spot-kick for Gamba in the shootout, while J.League defending champions Kashima converted all of their penalties. Kashima had taken the lead in the 20th minute when Marquinhos converted a penalty after Daiki Iwamasa was brought down by Gamba defender Shunya Suganuma in the box.
Gamba rallied, though, and levelled the scores shortly before the break when former Japan defender Akira Kaji dribbled up the right before firing home from outside the area.
"This is disappointing," Gamba manager Akira Nishino said. "But you cannot complain about the loss on penalties. We couldn't decide the game over 90 minutes, and the one who always practices hard on penalty kicks failed. Our players fought hard to the end."
Kashima manager Oswaldo Oliveria believes the victory will give his side a boost as they look to retain the J. League title.
"It was a close game and the two teams had similar quality at a high standard," he said. "Whether you win or lose, that will make a difference to your players' mentality for the coming season. This will help our players keep their determination and motivation high."
The 2010 J. League season will kick off on 6 March.