Adelaide United have advanced to the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League for the second time in their illustrious Asian history with an industrious 1-0 victory over Nagoya Grampus at Hindmarsh Stadium on Tuesday.
A tap-in goal shortly before half-time from former captain Jon McKain was enough to see off the visitors, although goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was called on to make several spectacular saves.
The first half was shared evenly between the sides as each had their moments until McKain pounced on a loose ball from Reds defender Iain Fyfe's downward header in the 40th minute.
J-League club Nagoya dominated for much of the second half while Adelaide threatened with a number of chances late in the dying minutes.
The result sees Adelaide advance to the two-leg quarter-finals to be played on September 19 and October 2 or 3, while Nagoya bow out.
A-League outfit Adelaide wasted no time in making their intentions clear when they thrust forward in the opening minute.
Striker Bruce Djite teased Nagoya's defence on the edge of their area and held himself well before being fouled as Reds marquee star Dario Vidosic lined-up to test visiting goalkeeper and captain Narazaki Seigo. However, the former FC Nurnberg midfielder fired over.
The Reds had another golden opportunity five minute later when Vidosic released Iain Ramsay on the left wing with a raking cross-field ball, only for the speedy winger to belt his half-volleyed effort above the bar.
Nagoya almost stunned the 9,758 strong Hindmarsh crowd when veteran Japanese forward Keiji Tamada combined fluently with Jungo Fujimoto in a neat one-two that threaded the latter into the host's box.
Fujimoto's attempted cut-back to teammate and Australia international Josh Kennedy at the near post though, was thwarted behind by the Reds' defence.
The game became static and uneventful for a good part of 20 minutes until United captain Galekovic produced a miraculous save to deny Nagoya and Kennedy an opening goal in the 33rd minute.
Kennedy unleashed a pinpoint header destined for the net until Galekovic flung to his left to dig out the ball off the line with an amazing one-handed save uncannily similar to his stop against Pohang Steelers earlier in April, and yet again reminiscent of goalkeeping greats Gordon Banks and Peter Schmeichel.
The imposing Kennedy turned provider moments later with a neat lay-off for strike partner Tamada but the Japan World Cup attacker's shot sailed over.
Against the run of play, Adelaide found the much-needed breakthrough in the 40th minute via McKain.
Fyfe's glancing header fell to McKain who bundled the ball home from inches out to put the Reds ahead as the half drew to a close.
Nagoya began the second half spritely and almost equalised on 54 minutes through the ever-threatening Kennedy.
Fujimoto again weaved his way through traffic before slipping a crafty through ball to Kennedy in between two Reds defenders, who shifted to his preferred right to fire off a shot, only for Nigel Boogaard to intervene and sweep the ball away with a well-timed sliding tackle.
Nagoya defender Masukawa Takahiro could have been forgiven for thinking he had bought the game back level on 63 minutes when he his unmarked header from Fujimoto's dipping free-kick drifted goal-bound for the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
However, Galekovic produced another astonishing diving save to knock the ball away.
The Reds skipper was at again in the 75th minute when, after a series of menacing attacks from the 2010 J-League champions, he tipped over substitute Mu Kanazaki's blistering header.
Fabian Barbiero could have put the match beyond doubt in the 83rd minute after he cleverly worked his way into the box to be through on goal as Nagoya defenders fell around him, however the 28-year-old blasted his shot from 10 yards out into the stands.
Reds substitute Sergio van Dijk hit the bar with a thunderous 25-yard drive three minutes from time, before the hosts were given a reprieve when Fujimoto's free-kick at the death bounced off the post as Galekovic looked on helplessly.