Brisbane Roar keeper Jamie Young fails to keep out Kashima's second goal.
Brisbane Roar keeper Jamie Young fails to keep out Kashima's second goal. Kunihiko Miura

Roar boss says ACL place still up for grabs

BRISBANE Roar coach John Aloisi is confident his side can still reach the AFC Champions League knockout stages despite a second successive Group E loss.

The Roar's continental woes continued on Tuesday night when it was beaten 3-0 by Kashima Antlers in Japan.

The defeat came two weeks after Aloisi's men were thrashed 6-0 in South Korea by Ulsan Hyundai.

Brisbane are at the bottom of Group E with just one point from three matches, having conceded nine goals and yet to score one of their own.

However, with two home matches to come, Aloisi believes the Roar can finish in the top two and progress to the last 16.

In Tuesday night's other Group E match, Ulsan drew 0-0 with Thai club Muangthong United.

Kashima top the group with six points, with Muangthong on five and Ulsan on four.

"No one's really got away and there's still nine points we can get," Aloisi said.

"We're confident that we can win our home games and if we can all our players fit, and get some bodies back, I still think we've got a strong enough team to win those home games (against Kashima and Ulsan) and then hopefully go to Muangthong and get the result we need there."

Aloisi felt his side's performance in Kashima was better than the 3-0 scoreline suggested.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time after a 43rd-minute goal from Yuma Suzuki, the Roar started the second half with purpose and endeavour.

However, two goals in the space of three minutes ensured the Roar would return home empty-handed.

Defender Naomichi Ueda tapped home from close range to double the hosts' lead in the 76th minute after a handling error from Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young.

Kashima sealed their win in the 79th minute via a classy strike from Yasushi Endo, who was given too much room by Roar fullback Corey Brown.

Brisbane's best chance of the game came in the 26th minute after good build-up play from Thomas Broich and Brandon Borrello, but Brett Holman's shot lacked the necessary power to beat Kashima goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata.

"Before their second goal, I thought that we were the better side. We had the clearer opportunities, they had their opportunities from a distance from outside the box," Aloisi said.

"I thought away from home we played really well until the second goal. If we were a bit more clinical, we could have easily got something out of the game.

"We matched them. It doesn't look great because it's 3-0 but until the second goal, we were very much in it.

"That was the only difference in the game between us and them. We made a couple of mistakes and they punished us whereas when they made their mistakes we didn't take advantage."

The Roar is sweating on the fitness of skipper Matt McKay, who was forced off with a back problem just before Kashima's went ahead 2-0.

"He was struggling. He couldn't move. His back seized up on him," Aloisi said.

"He gets it every now and then. It's disappointing he had to come off."

The Roar returns to A-League action on Sunday when it meets Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.

News Corp Australia

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