KASHIMA, Japan: Kashima Antlers took pole position at the top of AFC Champions League Group E with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Brisbane Roar on Tuesday night. South Korean side Ulsan Hyundai’s lacklustre 0-0 draw with Muangthong United allowed the reigning J-League champions to leapfrog the undefeated Thai side in the Group E standings with six points from three matches, with Brisbane rock bottom having only managed a draw and two defeats. The Japan side dominated first-half possession, but just when it looked as if a resilient Brisbane defence would go to the interval unbreached, right-back Yukitoshi Ito broke down the flank in the 43rd minute and crossed for Yuma Suzuki to power home a sharp first-time finish on the turn into the bottom corner of Jamie Young’s goal.
The Brisbane goalkeeper was cruelly credited with an own goal in the 76th minute despite Naomichi Ueda seemingly kicking the ball from the keeper’s grasp during a near-post scramble following a corner. Iranian referee Alireza Faghani waved away the protests of the Brisbane players who claimed Young had been fouled by Ueda. Three minutes later Young was powerless to stop Kashima sealing the three points when Yasushi Endo cut inside from the right and fired home an unstoppable left-footed finish into the far corner. — AFP