Japan's Kashiwa Reysol seized their spot in the AFC Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, as Michael McGlinchey lifted Australian hopes with a late winner for Central Coast Mariners against Suwon Bluewings.
A 1-1 draw with China's Guizhou Renhe was enough for Group H table-toppers Kashiwa, who sealed their progression with a solitary point after Tatsuya Masushima's second-half strike was cancelled out by Li Kai.
The Emperor's Cup-holders become just the third team to reach next month's knock-out phase in what is a frantic finish to the group stage with 27 clubs still in the running in the penultimate week.
Behind them Australia's Mariners, the newly crowned A-League champions, climbed to second in Group H and dashed Suwon's hopes after their 1-0 away win which was sealed in the 80th minute and against the run of play.
Substitute McGlinchey ran onto a ball over the top of the defence and bounced in his left-footed shot off diving goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong, as Suwon were left to rue their inability to capitalise on large amounts of possession.
The hosts had gone close through Stevica Ristikj, whose close-range half-volley was saved in the first half, and North Korean striker Jong Tae-Se, who grazed a stanchion with a sizzling effort after the break.
In Kashiwa, Masushima's powerful shot from a rebounding free kick put the hosts ahead on 50 minutes. But Guizhou defender Li equalised with five minutes to go to leave the Chinese team third, two points behind the Mariners, with one game left.
The top two teams from eight groups of four reach next month's knock-out round, played over two legs from May 14.