ACL: The need to know about the trip to Japan

Victory over Persija Jakarta in the Preliminary Stage of the AFC Champions League means that the Newcastle Jets are one step closer to the Group Stage.

While it was fortunate to play the Indonesian champions on home soil, the Jets now face a tough trip to Japan for the Play-Off round - and a shot at the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League 2019.

REPORT: Extra-time required for victory in Persija thriller

Here’s everything you need to know.

WHO

Our opponents next Tuesday night are Kashima Antlers, the reigning champions of the AFC Champions League after claiming the 2018 title.

They finished 3rd in the J-League last season, a competition which receives three and a half qualifying spots in the AFC Champions League, but are in the Play-Off rounds as a result of Urawa Red Diamonds’ Emperors Cup win from fifth on the ladder.

The Antlers are currently gearing up for the fast-approaching J-League season and last played competitive football in December at the Club World Cup, taking on the likes of Real Madrid and River Plate. 

Kashima Antlers

WHEN

Next Tuesday night’s game, scheduled for kick-off at 9pm AEDT on Tuesday 19 February, will decide one of two remaining positions in Group E.

The trip to Japan comes amidst a heavy schedule for the Jets, whose focus now immediately turns to Melbourne City in the Hyundai A-League on Friday night.

The boys will jump on a plane over the weekend bound for the home of the Blue Samurai.

WHERE

The fixture will see the Jets travel to Kashima, two hours north of Tokyo, to tackle the Antlers of Kashima at Kashima Soccer Stadium.

The 40,000 seater venue was purpose-built for the Antlers, the stadium’s sole occupant, who have called it home since it opened in 1993.

HOW

The game will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports Australia, next Tuesday night and with a 9pm kickoff there's just about no excuse to not catch this one.

Coverage is scheduled to start from 8pm, and you can catch all the action on Fox Sports 505, or the Kayo Sports app.

WHAT

Should Newcastle navigate what is a massive hurdle in the form of Kashima, they’ll make history by becoming the second Jets side to qualify for the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League.

The last time the Club managed it was back in 2009, when a second-place finish in the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season secured automatic qualification into the Group Stage.

Newcastle actually went as far as the Round of 16 that year, but were knocked out by South Korean side, Pohang Steelers.

Jets Champions League

THEN

Should the Jets claim victory against Kashima Antlers in enemy territory, we’ll earn passage into the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League 2019.

Entry into Group E will see Newcastle take on Gyeongnam FC (South Korea), Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia), and one of either Shandong Luneng (China) or Ha Noi (Vietnam).