Cerezo, Sanfrecce prevail in semis and advance to J.League YBC Levain Cup final

Cerezo, Sanfrecce prevail in semis and advance to J.League YBC Levain Cup final

Cerezo Osaka and Sanfrecce Hiroshima are the last teams standing in the J.League YBC Levain Cup and will play for the coveted crown in the final on October 22nd.

Cerezo put on a second-leg masterclass to win their semi-final, crushing Urawa Reds, 4-0, to book their place at the Japan National Stadium in a month's time, while Sanfrecce Hiroshima outlasted Avispa Fukuoka with a scoreless draw that put them through, 3-2 on aggregate.

The Sakura entered the second tie on level terms with Urawa, having drawn 1-1 in the first leg, and they got some help in the 23rd minute when the Reds put the ball in the back of their own net from a deflection. Cerezo needed no such luck from then on, though.

Seven minutes after Cerezo went in front, Hirotaka Tameda hit a beautiful ball for Hiroaki Okuno, who chipped the keeper to make it 2-0. After halftime, Mutsuki Kato extended the lead to three with a powerful header that found the back of the net, while Jean Patric scored late to wrap up a masterful victory.

This is the second straight year that Cerezo have beaten Urawa in the semis to advance to the final. Last season, they were beaten by Nagoya Grampus in the ultimate match, but after their terrific performance on Sunday, they will be hoping this year will spell a different fate.

Opposing them in the final will be a Sanfrecce club seeking their very first J.League YBC Levain Cup title.

The Viola advanced on the strength of a ferocious start to their semi-final tie, going ahead 3-0 in the first leg. While two late Avispa goals put the tie back into doubt heading into the second match, the Sanfrecce defense made it hold up in the final 90 minutes, delivering a 0-0 stalemate to progress to their second-ever J.League Cup final.

Cerezo and Sanfrecce will now meet at the Japan National Stadium on October 22 in the J.League YBC Levain Cup’s ultimate match, where one club will walk away with silverware that etches their name into history.