Adelaide in box seat

A bizarre Robert Cornthwaite own goal denied Adelaide United what would have been a crucial victory as their AFC Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash with Kashima Antlers ended 1-1.

A bizarre Robert Cornthwaite own goal denied Adelaide United what would have been a crucial victory as their AFC Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash with Kashima Antlers ended 1-1.

In a largely entertaining game, skipper Travis Dodd had given the visitors a priceless lead with a 38th minute header only to see his effort cancelled out when Cornthwaite sliced the ball into his own net when under no pressure whatsoever.

However, Aurelio Vidmar will certainly be the happier of the two managers with Adelaide holding the upper hand ahead of the return encounter in South Australia next Wednesday.

Kashima almost took an early lead after nine minutes but keeper Eugen Galekovic brilliantly turned Mitsuo Ogasawara's dipping 30-yard free-kick around his near post with his fingertips.

Danilo then saw a strike from the edge of the box blocked following Shinzo Koroki's pull back before a moment of controversy briefly ignited passions with 32 minutes gone.

Adelaide midfielder Diego was lying prone in the middle of the pitch but with his team-mates calling for the ball to be put out, Takeshi Aoki instead advanced unchallenged into the area before feeding Atsuto Uchida.

The full back's drive was excellently palmed over the bar by Galekovic before the keeper rushed out of his goal to remonstrate with Aoki.

The visitors took the lead six minutes later as Paul Agostino just failed to meet a cross from the left but an unmarked Dodd was on hand to plant a header past the flailing Hitoshi Sogahata from six yards out.

Marquinhos wasted a glorious opportunity to equalise when Toru Araiba's delightfully floated cross picked him out all on his own at the far post but the Brazilian headed meekly over the bar.

Antlers did draw level in first-half stoppage time albeit in fortunate circumstances.

Uchida's low shot seemed to pose little danger until Cornthwaite put it through his own net trying to clear with no Kashima player in sight.

Kashima were straight on the attack at the start of the second period as Marquinos picked up the ball in acres of space down the left and drove into the box but substitute Koji Nakata scuffed the striker's cut back straight at Galekovic.

Cristiano saw a downward header well parried by Sogahata low to his left at the other end before Danilo's powerful 25-yard strike flew inches over the bar.

Adelaide spurned a fine opening after 61 minutes when a defensive mix-up allowed Paul Reid to break free into the box but Sogahata stood up well to block the midfielder's poke with his chest.

Marqunihos then brought a smart parry out of Galekovic before the Adelaide keeper did well to push away Daiki Iwamasa-s forceful header from Ogasawara's corner.

Kashima pressed for a winner but were let down in the final third while substitute Kristian Sarkies fired over following a swift Adelaide counter as the game ended all-square.

Kashima Antlers 1 (Cornthwaite og '45+1) Adelaide United 1 (Dodd '38)