For the Japanese soccer community, Urawa Reds' 3-0 aggregate defeat to Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal in the Asian Champions League final was unprecedented.

That's because it was only the first time in five appearances in the final that a Japanese club has failed to clinch the continental title.

Japan underwhelmed in the first four years of the ACL's modern format, when none of its representatives from the J. League escaped the group stage.