Japan’s Kashima Antlers fire coach who riled Ronaldo

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s Kashima Antlers have sacked manager Masatada Ishii five months after he steered them to the Club World Cup final, officials said Wednesday.

The 50-year-old was dismissed after Kashima beat China’s Guangzhou Evergrande 2-1 in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League on Tuesday, only to crash out of the competition on away goals.

Ishii, who took charge in July 2015 and led the team to the J-League Cup before adding an eighth J-League championship and an Emperor’s Cup title last year, will be replaced by first-team coach Go Oiwa.

Kashima gave Spanish giants Real Madrid a fright in last December’s Club World Cup final in Yokohama before a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped see off Ishii’s spirited side.

However, the team have struggled this season and currently sit seventh in the J-League first division after losing five of their first 12 games.

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