Newcastle: Captain Nigel Boogaard and substitute Matthew Ridenton's extra time strikes secured Australia's Newcastle Jets a 3-1 win over Persija Jakarta of Indonesia in a 2019 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage 2 tie at the Newcastle Stadium on Tuesday.
Newcastle took the lead four minutes into the second half through Ronald Vargas but Persija bounced back through Ramdani Lestaluhu's header only for Boogaard and Ridenton to seal the win in extra time to earn a playoff stage match against reigning champions Kashima Antlers in Japan on February 19.
Persija came into the match having defeated Singapore’s Home United 3-1 in their first preliminary stage match last week, but The Jets had home ground advantage, coupled with determination to make a return to the AFC Champions League group stage.
Just five minutes into the game, the hosts had the first glimpse on goal when Dimi Petratos sent a curling corner kick into the box but before skipper Nigel Boogaard could connect, the Persija defence rose high to clear the ball to safety.
Alberto Goncalves and Marko Simic, who had both scored in their win over Home United, led Persija’s attacks and 16 minutes into the match, the Indonesian side had a corner kick of their own but the lofted ball eluded Simic in the box.
The Jets defence then thwarted Goncalves’ run into their box in the 25th minute.
Newcastle had the better share of the match but failed to find a path through the disciplined Indonesia defence, and both sides went into the break goalless.
The Jets returned for the second half with determination in their eyes, and broke the stalemate just four minutes in with Vargas’ close-range effort, courtesy of Roy O’Donovan’s assist.
Boosted by the goal, Newcastle searched for a second, coming close numerous times but were left to rue the missed chances when Persija drew level in the 72nd minute.
The action began with Simic’s header cleared by Newcastle’s Ben Kantarovski but the Australian side failed to react to the subsequent corner with Ramdani Lestaluhu heading the ball into the back of the net.
In an attempt to break the deadlock, head coach Ernest Merrick called upon Matthew Ridenton and Angus Thurgate in the 80th and 82nd minutes respectively but the Indonesian champions held on strongly to push the game into extra-time.
With immense support from the stands, Newcastle eventually regained the lead through captain Boogaard’s 101st minute effort before substitute Ridenton headed home the third in the 120th minute to seal the victory.
Photos: Newcastle Jets