Antlers win Emperor's Cup to complete double
TOKYO, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Japanese champions Kashima Antlers beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-0 to win the Emperor's Cup on Tuesday and complete a domestic double.
Teenager Atsuto Uchida's blistering right-foot drive put Kashima ahead just eight minutes into the final, watched by a New Year's Day crowd of 46,000 at Tokyo's National Stadium.
Brazilian midfielder Danilo smashed home Kashima's second deep into injury time after clever work from fellow substitute Atsushi Yanagisawa.
'I'm very grateful to the players,' Kashima's Brazilian manager Oswaldo de Oliveira told Japan's NHK Television. 'This win is a tribute to the terrific spirit they have.
'It's the end of a season but the start of another year so this is a wonderful way to say 'thank you' to the club and to the Kashima supporters.'
Defeat in Japan's traditional season closer compounded Hiroshima's misery following their relegation from the top flight.
Brazilian Marquinhos almost put a dull game beyond Sanfrecce's reach early in the second half when his header crashed against the post.
Midfielder Koji Morisaki came closest for Hiroshima with a dipping effort but they rarely threatened to spring an upset, or bring any festive cheer to their shivering supporters.
Kashima won their fifth J-League championship in dramatic circumstances last month, snatching the title from Urawa Reds on the final day of the season after erasing a 10-point deficit.
Uchida's goal gave Kashima their third Emperor's Cup title and their first since 2000 when they became the first team to win the J-League, Emperor's Cup and J-League Cup treble.