Brisbane Roar’s 2015 AFC Champions League campaign is over after a 2-1 loss to Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds at Gold Coast Stadium tonight.
Brisbane entered the game knowing only a large victory over Urawa and a win by Suwon Samsung FC over Beijing Guwon in the other Group G match being played simultaneously would get them through to the next stage.
A 1-1 draw between Beijing and Suwon in South Korea meant even a Roar victory would not have sent them through to the knockout Round of 16, as both those teams progressed.
Brisbane pushed forward early and manufactured several half-chances. However, the aggressive tactics left Roar exposed in defence, with Brisbane custodian Jamie Young called into action to save several promising Urawa shots on goal.
The space at the back eventually paid off for Urawa, with captain Kohrogi Shinzoh finishing in the bottom right corner after a through ball left him one-on- one with Young, giving Urawa a 1-0 lead they would hold until half time.
The Red Diamonds buried any hopes of a Roar fightback in the 58th minute, with substitute Muto Yuki scoring with his first touch only seconds after entering the game.
A well-struck goal from Roar striker Andrija Kaluderovic in the 70th minute raised hopes of a Roar revival, however it was not enough to spark a late fightback, with the score remaining 2-1.
Roar interim Head Coach Frans Thijssen acknowledged the need to chase goals left his team shorthanded in defence.
“Our centre backs had to play one-on-one the entire game really, that gave us problems. When you have to play one-on-one strikers can get free and that’s what happened,” he said.
The season-ending loss in the AFC Champions League came just four days after Adelaide United knocked Brisbane out of the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
Despite the disappointing end, it was the Roar’s best AFC Champions League campaign in three attempts, finishing with two wins – the club’s first in Asia – and a draw.
The Roar will now have a short break before preparations begin for matches against Villarreal CF on Wednesday, 3 June and Liverpool FC on Friday, 17 July.