Cape Town - Kashima Antlers coach Masatada Ishii has admitted that Mamelodi Sundowns' courage and energy gave his team problems before the Japanese champions emerged 2-0 victors in Sunday's Club World Cup quarter-final.
Sundowns were in some irresistible form in the first-half and created a catalogue of chances which they weren't able to convert. It appeared the African champions were on track to record an easy victory, before Antlers almost completely dominated the second stanza to win 2-0.
The result means the Brazilians will now face Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in a fifth place playoff on Wednesday, while the J1 League champions go on to play Atletico Nacional in the semi-finals.
Nonetheless, Antlers coach Masatada Ishii gave credit to the Pitso Mosimane-coached outfit for how they started the contest in Osaka.
He told reporters: "We struggled at the start to deal with their spirit. But we settled down in the second-half, found a nice balance and scored two good goals. It was important to stay calm and we will have to be just as patient against Nacional."
In the other semi-final, UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid will take on CONCACAF Champions League holders Club America on Thursday.