Roar break ACL duck with Japan win
The A-League title-holders raced into the lead as early as the second minute courtesy of Brandon Borrello, who was slipped in by Thomas Broich and slammed a fierce strike past Shusaku Nishikawa at the goalkeeper's near post.
Boosted by taking the advantage so early in Saitama, Frans Thijssen's men proceeded to produce an impressive first-half performance, denying the hosts time and space and threatening to double their lead on several occasions.
Luke Brattan went close in the 15th minute when he sent a dipping long-range strike just over the bar with Nishikawa beaten.
With four minutes to go before the break, Broich also had the goalkeeper scrambling, the German playmaker failing to hit the target with a firm drive from outside the area.
Urawa were much improved after the restart for the second half, with a Luke DeVere sliding tackle and Jamie Young's save required to deny Shinzo Koroki from close range twice in quick succession.
As the Roar struggled to halt their hosts' momentum, it looked very much as if the Reds would soon be back on level terms.
The game changed in the 51st minute though, when Daisuke Nasu crudely brought down Andrija Kaluderovic and, with the centre-back the last man, the referee had no hesitation in swiftly brandishing a red card.
The incident allowed the Roar to wrest back control of the contest, but chances continued to prove scarce against the undermanned home side.
It wasn't until the 69th minute that Brisbane enjoyed a clear-cut opportunity, Henrique played in behind the Urawa defence and shooting, only to be denied by the boot of Nishikawa.
One of the Reds' best late chances was wasted by substitute Tsukasa Umesaki, who did well to make space for himself inside the area but scooped a tame shot high and wide of goal.
In the 89th minute another substitute, Tadanari Lee, went closer still, nodding a header just over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Roar though held on to bag an important three points and leave Urawa bottom of Group G with nothing to show from two matches played in the 2015 tournament.