Masatada Ishii praised Kashima Antlers for playing the “perfect” game in a 3-0 win against Gamba Osaka as they lifted the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup on Saturday.
Second-half goals from Hwang Seok-ho, Mu Kanazaki and Caio were enough to see Antlers clinch their sixth such title, while it was Ishii’s first as manager of the club.
Speaking to reporters after the result, the 48-year-old credited their opponents for putting up a tough fight, but maintains the result was a fair one in the end.
When we played them at home [in a 2-1 loss on matchday 10 of the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League second stage] we pushed forward and they were able to score,” Ishii said.
“But today we played perfectly and I’m very glad we were able to keep a clean sheet. As you’d expect from Gamba Osaka it was a tough first half and I thought they’d resist until the bitter end.
“To a certain extent we controlled the match, but they also threatened us through their counters on occasion and it’s good that we didn’t give up any goals.
“In the second half we expected them to come out and attack us, but we were able to defend and by the end of the match the play had developed into the style we’re used to playing.”