Jets rue missed chances

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond was left to rue his side's missed opportunities in front of goal in a 1-0 loss to Nagoya Grampus in Wednesday's night Asian Champions League match at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond was left to rue his side's missed opportunities in front of goal in a 1-0 loss to Nagoya Grampus in Wednesday's night Asian Champions League match at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

The Newcastle side went close with some missed headers from set pieces early in the match, but the classy Japanese outfit wrestled control of the match and took the lead through some sustained pressure and good fortune in the 57th minute.

The Nagoya strikers were gifted possession on the edge of the penalty area after Matt Thompson's clearing pass had deflected off United Arab Emirates referee Ali Saif Albadwawi's foot. Grampus substitute Sugimoto Keita took the ball wide before crossing for forward partner Ogawa Yoshizumi to score from close range.

The Jets looked like they may have salvaged a valuable draw when striker Sasho Petrovski came off the bench to earn a penalty in the 77th minute after he was felled in the box by Grampus defender Bajalica Milos. However, Nagoya goalkeeper Narazaki Seigo saved Petrovski's under-strength spot kick to maintain his side's lead.

The visitors were able to seal the win with solid defence in the final quarter of an hour despite some desperate late raids on goal by the Jets.

"It is definitely a case of taking your chances," van Egmond told the media after the match.

"I thought Nagoya was the better of the teams in the first half in regards to dictating the game, but we wanted to ensure we kept our goal in tact."

"Defensively we were quite sound. They had some half chances in the first half but I didn't think they created too many full clear cut chances."

"In the second half we started to push on in search of winning the game but when your luck is not in it is not in."

"I think the pass that Matt Thompson plays ricochets off the ref and their boy gets the ball and runs down. We still had plenty of numbers there and we didn't clear it. Then we earn ourselves a penalty and we don't score."

Van Egmond defended his decision to start the game with Petrovski on the bench, saying his play was based around Italian playmaker Fabio Vignaroli, who impressed before leaving the game after 30 minutes due to a hamstring injury.

"We felt Fabio was much better centrally and two doesn't go into one with Donny (De Groot) and Sash," he said.

"I thought Donny would do a lot of the bullocking work early and then with 30 minutes to go I would bring on fresh like Sash running against older legs."

"Realistically I think the tactic worked. It was Sash who earned the penalty, unfortunately he just didn't convert the chance."

Van Egmond revealed he hadn't seen the missed penalty opportunity because of a coach's superstition of not watching spot kicks but said the team wouldn't be dwelling on the loss with a must-win home clash against Beijing in just two weeks.

"Usually I turn away from penalties because I have a fairly decent record of - if I don't watch it we tend to score - so I haven't really seen it to be honest," he said. "But the guys on the bench told me it was a fairly weak shot so maybe he was caught in two minds when he struck it?"

"I am sure he (Petrovski) is feeling pretty down about it but we just have to regroup and get ready for our game against Beijing."

"I thought we actually came home quite strong, admittedly we were chasing the game, but still we came home quite strong and it was unfortunate that we didn't pick one back."

"So I thought it was an entertaining match unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the ledger."