Goalscorer Hwang Seok-ho revealed Kashima Antlers had rehearsed their set-piece routines to perfection ahead of their 3-0 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup final win over Gamba Osaka.
The Korean centre-back netted the crucial opener right on the hour mark from Mitsuo Ogasawara’s corner, before Mu Kanazaki added a second shortly after from a similar dead-ball situation.
And Hwang was glad the number of hours they put in on the training ground paid off as they secured a milestone result for the club.
“Keisuke Iwashita was marking me, but I was able to break away from his mark and the ball came to me at just the right time, so all I had to do was head it in,” he told reporters.
“In training we discussed predicting where the ball will go during a corner kick, and how if the three of us can run in at the same time we’ll be able to turn it into something.
“I’m glad that led to a goal today.”
After playing a pivotal role in Antlers’ latest Nabisco Cup triumph with his deliveries, Ogasawara - with a record five trophies - said the club’s secret lay in their spirit of success and big-game temperament.
Our strength is that we’ve been here many times before and know what we have to do at this stage,” he said.
“I’ve been playing with Yatto [Gamba captain Yasuhito Endo] since we were both teenagers and I don’t think I’ve beaten him on the pitch or in the record books.
“I’m really happy that I was able to play with him today, and I hope that our generation, like [Consadole Sapporo veterans] Shinji Ono and Junichi Inamoto can continue to play hard in the J.League.”