AFC Champions League 2018 Final: First leg - Brazilian duo hand Kashima advantage

Leo Silva and Serginho goals gave Kashima Antlers a crucial 2-0 lead on aggregate in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final.

Kashima Antlers secured a healthy first-leg lead in the AFC Champions League final on Saturday, defeating Persepolis 2-0 in Ibaraki.

Second-half goals from Brazilian duo Leo Silva and Serginho provided reward for Kashima, who created the better chances against their Iranian opponents.

Persepolis, who saw Siamak Nemati sent off late on, had the better of the game's opening stages but struggled to fashion clear-cut chances. Kashima gradually started to assume control of the game and came into their own after the break. 

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Serginho and Hiroki Abe combined effectively in the 48th minute to set up Leo Silva who blazed over. Leo Silva atoned for his miss 10 minutes later. After a one-two with Shoma Doi, Silva placed the ball into Alireza Beiranvand's bottom-right corner.

Serginho made it 2-0 in the 70th minute after the Persepolis defence failed to clear their lines. The Brazilian was unmarked at the back post and applied a calm finish. 

To make matters worse for Persepolis, Nemati was sent off in stoppage time and will miss the second leg.