Kashima Antlers and Albirex Niigata were shocked in the Emperor’s Cup on Wednesday, exiting in the third round following defeats to MEIJI YASUDA J2 League opposition.
Yamazaki Nabisco Cup finalists and MEIJI YASUDA J1 League second stage contenders Antlers were at home against Mito Hollyhock but bowed out 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game finished 0-0 in extra time.
Albirex meanwhile suffered their second cup heartbreak in a week with a surprise 2-1 loss at the hands of Tokushima Vortis at Denka Big Swan Stadium outfit.
Masaaki Yanagishita’s men were seeking to bounce back with a victory against their MEIJI YASUDA J2 League opponents following their elimination at the hands of Gamba Osaka in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup semi-finals last Sunday.
But Albirex instead slumped to a shock home defeat, with Hidenori Ishii getting the opener for Vortis and Yu Hasegawa grabbing the winner after Leo Silva temporarily equalised for the hosts as a day of upsets for Japan’s top sides threatened to loom.
Indeed, Kawasaki Frontale’s 3-0 win over Kyoto Sanga proved the most comprehensive as goals from Yoshito Okubo, Takanobu Komiya and Kenyu Sugimoto ensured they left nothing to chance.
Sagan Tosu managed an unconvincing 2-1 win in a penalty shootout against Consadole Sapporo after the match finished 0-0 after 120 minutes, while Vegalta Sendai snuck past Omiya Ardija 4-3 in their round of spot-kicks.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima scraped past Roasso Kunamoto 1-0 thanks to Yusuke Minagawa’s winner right after half time, while Sho Ito’s strike in extra time was enough to secure Yokohama F.Marinos a 1-0 victory at Oita Trinita.
Montedio Yamagata had to count on second-half strikes from Shota Kawanishi and Diego to overcome Fujieda MYFC 2-1, and Kazuma Watanabe brought an end to Vissel Kobe’s six-game losing streak in their 1-0 win over JEF United Chiba.
Taisuke Akiyoshi spared Ventforet Kofu the drama of extra time with his winner right before the end of their 1-0 victory against Ehime FC.
MEIJI YASUDA J3 League representatives FC Machida meanwhile continued their fairytale climb in the Emperor’s Cup and are through to the fourth round of the tournament following their 2-0 win against Avispa Fukuoka.