Kim Dae-wook headed Auckland ahead five minutes after halftime, but substitute Shuhei Akasaki equalized for the J-League champions in the 67th minute. "I respect our opponents but we should not respect them too much and we should play our own game".
Yasushi Endo had two chances in quick succession for Kashima Antlers, but the first flashed across the goalmouth before his curling effort dipped onto the roof of the net.
"He is a key player up front and I have high expectations of him but we can not only rely on him to win", Ishii said of Kanazaki, who threw a fit when he was substituted during a league game in August, a tantrum that led to him being dropped from the national team by Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
It was certainly Sundowns who dominated the first half, showing no signs of jetlag as they looked lively and industrious in possession while creating several good scoring chances with Antlers keeper Hitoshi Sogahata by far the busier of the two shot-stoppers.
"In particular, Kanazaki has been in good form of late and had scored in the last few games, so that's why I made a decision to send him on", Ishii added.
Kashima made just one change to the side that beat Urawa Reds 2-1 away on Saturday to clinch the league crown, with Fabricio getting the nod to start in place of Kanazaki.
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Kashima began to take control of the game and went close on a handful of occasions before Kanazaki won it, heading in after Shoma Doi sent back Shuto Yamamoto's cross from the back post.
"I was a bit euphoric on the day we gained the right to play in this tournament and the day after, but I knew there was another match in a few days' time and needed to keep my feet on the ground".
Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder, Teko Modise, insists they need to focus on beating Kashima Antlers, before thinking about facing Real Madrid.
It was the fourth year in a row that the African champions had fallen at the first hurdle at the Fifa Club World Cup.
The match was preceded by a moment of silence for the victims of the recent plane crash in Colombia that included players and staff from Brazilian club Chapecoense.