A frantic second half saw five goals swing the tie in favour of both teams before the Japanese giants eventually secured a place in the AFC Champions League final.
A place in the Asian Champions League final was at stake. The second-leg was perfectly poised after Kashima Antlers came back from two goals down in the opening six minutes to win 3-2 in their own back yard. So did it live up to expectations? You better believe it did!
Suwon Bluewings 3 - 3 Kashima Antlers (Agg. 5 - 6)
The first half gave us a number of chances for both sides, the better ones falling to the visitors from Japan as the hosts pushed forward methodically for the goal they required. It was, however, Kashima who opened the scoring with a nicely controlled header at the near post from Shuto Yamamoto who redirected a lovely Serginho free-kick from the right flank. That two-goal advantage was maintained until the break, with no one in the stadium expecting what was to come.
A three-goal flurry in eight second-half minutes put the Bluewings in command, if only briefly. A Yeom Ki-hyun's header in the 57th minute was saved by Kwoun Sun-tae in the Kashima goal before Lim Sang-hyub pounced on the rebound. Two minutes later, Jo Sung-jin headed in Yeom's corner to give Suwon the lead on the night and on away goals.
Then came a third on the hour mark when Dejan Damjanovic beat Kwoun at his near post with a low shot that saw the veteran striker pull level with Lee Dong-gook to become the tournament's all-time leading scorer. The home fans were delirious.
The pendulum, however, swung back towards Kashima just four minutes later when Daigo Nishi scored with a deflected effort that left the scores tied 5-5 on aggregate and the game destined for extra time.
But, with eight minutes to go, Serginho maintained his run of scoring in every Asian Champions League game since he joined Kashima in the summer from Santos by firing his right foot effort into the top corner.
That goal left Suwon needing to score twice to advance and, although Yeom threatened in injury time with an effort into the side netting, Kashima held on to become the second Japanese side in a row to progress to the final following Urawa Reds' title win last year.
Kashima Antlers will face Iranian side Persepolis in the AFC Champions League final across two legs which will be played on the 3rd and 10th November.
Suwon Bluewings - Kashima Antlers: minute-by-minute
Thank you for joining us today in what ended up being a humdinger of a tie. We hope to see you again very soon...
90'+4' Full-time | The game ends 3-3 which is enough for Kashima Antlers to make the final 5-6 on aggregate.
90'+2' Final substitution for the Antlers: Mitsuo Ogasawara replaces hero Serginho
90' There will be four minutes of added time here but it's clear from the 'get rid' approach from Kashima that there is rightly only one team thinking of scoring.
86' The home fans are out of their seats as the ball is curled in to the opposition penalty area. Sun-Tae Kwon fails to get distance on the punch under pressure and Park Ki-Dong drills the dropped ball goalwards. Fair play to the keeper who saves excellently by spreading his large frame.
84' There's an immediate drop in the noise levels around the stadium after the Brazilian's strike. Two goals in five minutes should be too much for the Bluewings but then after what we've seen in this second half...
Bluewings 3-3 Antlers (agg 5-6) | It's a great control, turn and shot into the roof of the net from the man we said could be key, Serginho. The score is level on the day, but crucially an extra away goal that means the home side need two more.
82' GOAL!!!! The Antlers take the lead.
80' Free-kick to Suwon in a decent place to cause some bother after Ki-Hun Yeom is harried off the ball. The delivery from wide on the left is good but the header well over Sun-Tae Kwon's bar.
77' A change for the Bluewings | Saric replaced by Lee Jongsung. Also, Antlers bring on Ryota Nagaki for Anzai
75' A great chance for the Antlers to break following a corner to the hosts. For some reason the pace was taken off the move and Suwon got numbers back in time to cancel out the danger.
73' Change being made: Won-Hee Cho comes trotts on
71' We've got two players (one for each side) lying on the turf looking broken. The play is allowed to continue until eventually the ref waves on the medical teams. Could we see new faces?
69' The goalscorer Daigo Nishi shows some nasty skills there as he changes from full-back to winger. Dinking the ball around the covering defender then almost delivering a dangerous cross. Good block.
66' Ok. We could all do with a little breather right now. As it stands, we're going to extra-time...but for some reason I just can't see that happening.
Bluewings 3-2 Antlers (agg 5-5) | It's Daigo Nishi who someone sticks it home in off the far post after not getting his first effort away.
64' GOAL!!!! Kashima have levelled things up on aggregate!!! This has been a ridiculous 20 minutes!
62' The faces poking out from those white shirts looked shell-shocked. Can they...oh, wait a minute...
Bluewings 3-1 Antlers (agg 5-4) | It's the dangerman Dejan Damjanovic who finishes neatly inside Hwa-Yong Shin's near post as the keeper predicted a pass centrally.
60' GOAL!!! It's another one for the Bluewings. Kashima don't know what's hit them.
57' In all the excitement we failed to mention that goalscorer Song-Jin Cho and Kwang-Seon Kwak were both booked.
55' We did expect this to be an entertaining match and the second half has raised the proverbial roof. As it stands, Suwon Bluewings will be taking their place in the final alongside Persepolis.
53' GOAL!! Jo Sung-Jin makes it 2-1 to the hosts and 4-4 on aggregate.
Bluewings 1-1 Antlers (agg 3-4) | Initially a good save from Sun-Tae Kwon but Sang-Hyub Lim was fastest to react and levels things up on the night.
50' GOAL!!! The Bluewings are back in this!
47' And what a response from the home side. A similarly-weighted cross from the left and almost identically it's header wide with not enough purchase.
46' Immediately Kashima create with a nice whipped cross from the right, but the header is wide.
46' The referee gets us underway... One change at HT: Park Kidong on for Choi Seungkeun
OK. We're all set. The teams are coming out for the second half and our technicians seem to have mutilated all the bugs in our system. Let's go...
For anyone who is not aware of what happened yesterday in the other semi-final, have a read of our match review as Persepolis overcame Al Sadd (meaning no Xavi or Gabi in the final).
Despite their two-goal advantage, Kashima manager Go Oiwa will be well aware of what happened in the first leg. It was his own side that came out on top with two goals late on, but with two own-goals also playing their part in the match, we know that anything can happen.
There have been a number of chances across the first half but the goal, a delightful near post header from Shuto Yamamoto guiding Serginho's free-kick from wide on the right, is what puts the Japanese side in command.
45'+2' Peeeep!! The whistle blows and the players trott in for some tactical advice from their manager. Antlers just have to see this out now...
45' As we approach the whistle, the Bluewings try again to break down this tight white wall but to no avail. That looks like it could be the last chance of the first half...
43' The Antlers win the ball back just inside their own half and burst forward. The covering blue shirts did well to get in a final tackle otherwise they could've been saying goodbye to their chances before half-time.
41' Song-Jin Cho now into the book after a robust challenge that went a little outside the accepted laws of the game.
39' As the home fans chant, Suwon continue their build-up play through the midfield, while Kashima look instead to hit with pace when they win the ball back.
37' Saric taking no prisoners as he ensures the potential danger is snuffed out. Some wry smiles after that challenge.
35' Much better there from the Bluewings. Neat interplay on the edge of Kashima's area almost opened things up for a shot. The defence did its job in the end though.
The home fans are trying to lift their team and knowing that two goals in reply would be enough to see them progress.
28' Booking there for Sung-Keun Choi after he went in on the opposition keeper Sun-Tae Kwon
Bluewings 0-1 Antlers (agg. 2-4) | Yamamoto gets his head to a Serginho free-kick and the Japanese side now have a two-goal cushion.
26' GOAL!!!!! Kashima take the lead!!
Damjanovic can't get it to fall for him right now but chances are being created at both ends.
The Bluewings get a bit more control in the middle of the park and work it forward, first on the left, then back to their defence. This pattern continues as they look to draw in their opponents but a loose ball is then pounced on and the Japanese side try to break forward. It comes to nothing.
Another chance almost gifted to the visitors but in the end it is cleared away for a corner. Nervy moments for fans (and the players, it would appear!)
The first 10 minutes have seen a couple of really good chances for the Antlers.
Apologies for some technical difficulties that have meant we've not been able to bring you the opening exchanges. The gremlins seem to be fixed now...
A reminder of the starting line-ups as the referee gets us underway: Suwon Bluewings XI: Hwa-yong, Cho Sung-jin, Kwang-seon, Lee Ki-je, Jang Ho-ik, Joon-hyung, Ki-hun, Sang-hyub, Sung-keun, Sarić, Damjanović. Kashima Antlers XI: Kwoun Sun-tae, Nishi, Yamamoto, Shōji, Anzai, Jung Seung-hyun, Léo Silva, Doi, Misao, Serginho, Suzuki
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It's worth noting that that single-goal victory for the South Koreans is their only win over today's rivals in their last six clashes. In saying that, the away goals from the first leg could prove very valuable.
As well as the game last week, these two teams also met in an interesting Group H earlier in the competition. I say 'interesting' because not one of the four teams managed to win in front of their home fans! Damjanovic scored the only goal of the game in Japan, while the previous encounter saw the now-departed Kanazaki bag a brace in a 1-2 win for the Antlers.
Like Persepolis, the Antlers know that a draw will be enough to take them into the showpiece final following their 3-2 advantage from their home leg. But cheered on by the home crowd in the Suwon World Cup Stadium, the Blue Wings fancy their chances.
Hello and a very warm welcome to our live coverage of the match between Suwon Bluewings and Kashima Antlers in the AFC Champions League. By the end of this semi-final second leg tie we will know the two sides to battle for the ultimate glory in November's two-legged final.
Suwon Bluewings - Kashima Antlers: preview
This AFC Champions League semi-final second leg could hardly be better poised. The Japanese Antlers will be delighted to have fought back from being two goals down inside six minutes in the first leg to carry a lead into this tie, but know that the key could be keeping things much tighter at the back. Their South Korean opponents on the other hand need a goal if they are going to proceed to the final against Persepolis, but whether they go for it from the off, or play a more cagey game, we'll have to wait and see.
Returning manager Seo Jung-won never planned for his side to be sitting 0-2 ahead in the first encounter at the Kashima Soccer Stadium. However, from that fortunate position he was clearly disappointed to come into today's game needing to chase a goal. In players of the calibre of Yeom Ki-hun, Dejan Damjanovic and Elvis Saric, the home fans will know that dreams of another continental final is well founded. But with such inconsistent form this season, something that has put them out of the reckoning for their domestic league, the question they are asking is which side will turn up today.
The Antlers have seen plenty of success in the Japan but need to do something in the Champions League to truly get the recognition they feel they merit. Manager Go Oiwa has already kissed goodbye to the J1 League - sitting 14 points adrift of Kawasaki Frontale at the top - so all his eggs are now securing placed in this semi-final basket. He'll look to the experience of Atsuto Uchida, formerly of Bundesliga side Schalke (who scored at both ends in the first leg) to support the backline, and to young striker Yuma Suzuki to keep the home side on their toes as they go looking for the goal they need. One player who could prove key is the relatively new signing of Serginho. The Brazilian has three goals in as many games and will aim to make an impact on the big stage.