Antlers, who are looking to win the continental title for the first time, took the lead two minutes before the hour mark when Leo Silva picked the ball up on the edge of the area before firing a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner of Alireza Beiranvand's goal.
Twelve minutes later, Serginho scored his fifth goal in five Asian Champions League games since joining Kashima in the summer from Santos when he latched on to Kento Misao's through ball to beat Beiranvand and leave Persepolis facing a tough challenge in the second leg.
A second yellow card in injury time for Persepolis' Siamak Nemati means he will miss the second leg at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran next Saturday, where a capacity crowd of more than 80,000 is expected as Persepolis seek to become the first Iranian club to be crowned Asian champions since 1993. (Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Amlan Chbakraborty)
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