Urawa Reds put an end to Brisbane Roar's slim hopes of progressing in the AFC Champions League by beating the Queensland side 2-1 in Robina on Tuesday night.
The visitors from Japan, already eliminated from the 2015 tournament, scored in each half through Shinzo Koroki and Yuki Moto respectively to record their first and only victory of Group G.
Roar came home with a wet sail against a tiring Urawa and Andrija Kaluderovic's goal on 70 minutes, after some strong lead-up work by Matt McKay and Devante Clut, gave hope to the noisy home fans of a fightback.
An equaliser looked promising and some fresh legs may have helped.
But Roar coach Frans Thijssen again took the unsual option of sticking with his starting XI, despite Luke Brattan limping, Clut struggling and the likes of Steven Lustica on the bench.
The Roar had needed to beat Urawa handsomely and hope Suwon Bluewings defeated Beijing Guoan comfortably in the other game on matchday six to have any chance of going through on goal difference.
But having signed off with a loss at Cbus Super Stadium, the season is now over for Frans Thijssen's men, who went out of the A-League finals at the first hurdle in a 2-1 loss away to Adelaide United on Friday.
Brisbane started the game on the Gold Coast strongly and went close twice during the opening exchanges. In the fifth minute holding midfielder Luke Brattan unleashed a trademark long-range drive from a free-kick which had Koki Otani worried, forcing the goalkeeper to push the ball over the bar.
James Donachie saw a half-chance pass by 10 minutes later, when Thomas Broich's corner found him unmarked, but the delivery fell awkwardly into the defender's midriff, the ball slipping harmlessly wide of the near post.
Having survived that early spell of pressure, Urawa settled into the game and soon it was their turn to threaten.
Koroki was involved in all of the Reds' good early work, testing Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young with a snapshot in the 20th minute. Three minutes later he played in Toshiyuki Takagi one-on-one, Young having to rush out quickly to shut down the danger.
The hosts didn't heed those warning sides though and 60 seconds later they were behind. Keita Suzuki fed the ball wide to Koroki on the left side of the Urawa attack and the 12-cap Japan international advanced into the area before firing a well-judged finish across Young and into the far corner of the net.
After the break Brisbane enjoyed a rare sight of goal when Broich released Andrija Kaluderovic down a channel on the right side of the penalty area, but the Serbian scuffed his strike well wide.
At the other end of the field Urawa went close to doubling their advantage in the 51st minute, Tadanari Lee narrowly failing to connect with a tempting cross to the back post.
Six minutes later though there was no stopping the J-League Division 1 leaders. Takagi played a brilliant reverse pass to release Moto in on goal down the left and the substitute finished calmly past Young mere moments after coming on.
The Roar pulled one back in the 70th minute through Kaluderovic, who did much better with a carbon copy of his early chance following some good build-up work by impressive youngster Devante Clut.
The hosts lifted but threatened only sporadically after their goal, the defeat signalling the beginning of what is set to be an off-season of change for the Suncorp Stadium side, who are expected to overhaul their squad and bring in a new head coach, with Auckland City's Ramon Tribulietx tipped to take the job.comments