Kashima Antlers lifted a record sixth Yamazaki Nabisco Cup as they beat former holders Gamba Osaka 3-0 on Saturday.
Mastada Ishii’s men headed into the match knowing it was a perfect opportunity to end the club’s trophy drought since they won the competition in 2012, and duly took charge.
Nevertheless, they were unable to break through in the first half despite their dominance, but the opener was on its way and arrived right on the hour mark via Hwang Seok-ho.
The South Korean defender exploited Gamba’s weaknesses at defending set-pieces to power home Mitsuo Ogasawara’s corner.
Failing to pay heed to the danger, Kenta Hasegawa’s side allowed Mu Kanazaki an easy finish from another delivery from the corner flag, before Caio wrapped up the win in a textbook counter-attack as their opponents pushed forward.
The cup is Ishii’s maiden silverware as Antlers manager and caps a remarkable turnaround from the team since he took over in July.
Japan’s most successful outfit also have a chance to win the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League come the end of the season.