The 2021 J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP is down to four teams after the quarter-final stage wrapped up over last weekend, with plenty of goals and action across the second legs of all four ties.
Kawasaki Frontale 3, Urawa Reds 3 (Urawa advance 4-4 on away goals)
In what was by far the match of the round, Urawa completed a second-leg fightback for the ages. After taking an early advantage through Ataru Esaka, the Reds conceded three consecutive goals to the home side and found themselves down 4-2 on aggregate entering the 87th minute. But an unlikely turning of the tides was spurred when Kasper Junker found the back of the net off a fortuitous bounce at the back post. In injury time, the comeback was complete, when substitute Tomoaki Makino poked a rebound home from close range to seal Urawa’s spot in the next round on away goals.
Gamba Osaka 0, Cerezo Osaka 4 (Cerezo advance 4-1 on aggregate)
Takashi Inui’s return to the J.League was marked by a mammoth away win for Cerezo in the Osaka Derby. Gamba were carrying a 1-0 lead into the second leg but could not maintain their advantage as goals from Hiroto Yamada, Mutsuki Kato, Naoyuki Fujida, and Riki Matsuda all flew into the net in the first 68 minutes.
Kashima Antlers 0, Nagoya Grampus 2 (Nagoya advance 4-0 on aggregate)
It was another clean sheet for Mitch Langerak as Nagoya Grampus yet again defeated Kashima Antlers by a 2-0 scoreline. Goals from Sho Inagaki and new arrival Jakub Świerczok were enough to put Grampus in the last four.
F.C.Tokyo 2, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo 0 (F.C.Tokyo advance 3-2 on aggregate)
F.C.Tokyo won the J.LEAGUE Cup a year ago and their quest to repeat will continue. Goals from Leandro, who was a difference-maker in the final a season ago, and Keigo Higashi helped the capital club over the line against Consa, who were carrying a one-goal advantage into the second leg.
The semi-final round will see holders F.C.Tokyo take on Nagoya Grampus, while Cerezo Osaka and Urawa Reds will meet on the other side of the bracket. Both ties are scheduled to be played on October 6th and 10th.