Antlers KO Jets' ACL hopes
Newcastle Jets lost out on a place in the Asian Champions League when they lost 4-1 in Japan to Kashima Antlers.
Playmaker Serginho struck twice in the last 23 minutes in the play-off to see off last year's beaten A-League Grand finalists at Kashima Soccer Stadium.
Ronny Vargas netted for the Jets midway through the first half to bring them level, five minutes after Sho Ito scored for the hosts.
But Newcastle, playing for the third time in a week, were only on terms for nine minutes before Shuto Yamamoto netted for Kashima to give them an interval advantage.
Kashima could have won by a bigger margin, but New Zealand international keeper Glen Moss made some excellent saves for the Jets.
Roy O'Donovan was denied early on for the visitors when a fingertip save from keeper Kwoun Sun-Tae kept out his strike from distance.
Soon after Ito poked the ball home after Serginho's clever flick was tipped on to the post by Moss.
Vargas equalised with a deflected shot that wrong-footed Kwoun, after the Jets had strung together a good passing move.
Moss twice saved from Ito within a minute to keep Newcastle level, before Yamamoto netted when he arrived at the far post to head home as the visitors' defence failed to deal with a floated cross.
Kashima made it 3-1 on 67 minutes when Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard's clumsy challenge on Leo Silva gave away a penalty that Serginho converted.
The Brazilian grabbed his second goal in injury time, just after O'Donovan had snatched at the Jets' best chance of the second half.
The Jets are 8/5 to win their next A-League game against Adelaide United, who are 6/4, with the draw 13/5.
View all Soccer betting