The Emperor’s Cup quarter-finals featured seven top flight clubs and Roasso Kumamoto, but the Meiji Yasuda J2 League team wasn’t fazed in the slightest. They didn’t flinch when they were the last lower division team remaining, when the draw matched them against J1 title contending Vissel Kobe or when they went to penalty kicks against the Ushi.
At every step, Roasso have met the challenge the Emperor’s Cup put in front of them and that is why they are going to their first-ever cup semi-final after taking down Vissel on spot kicks.
Roasso were good right from the very start, playing Vissel well through the first half and into the second. Then, on the hour mark, Rei Hirakawa broke through and put Roasso in front.
It looked like Hirakawa’s goal would be enough for Roasso, but Jean Patric equalized for Vissel late on and the match went to penalties, where Ryuga Tashiro shone bright. He kept out two Ushi penalties, allowing Roasso to win the shootout, 4-3, and book their spot in the semi-finals of a cup for the first time in club history.
Roasso’s opponent in the semis will be Kashiwa Reysol, who downed Nagoya Grampus, 2-0. The tight match was broken by Sachiro Toshima’s goal in the 69th minute and Matheus Sávio put the match away with a late goal as Reysol made it to the final four of the Emperor’s Cup for the first time since 2017.
Kawasaki Frontale made their way into the semis, relying upon penalty kicks just like Roasso. Kaito Taniguchi scored early for Albirex Niigata, putting Frontale on their heels, but they responded through Tatsuki Seko to send the match into extra time. There, Shin Yamada scored and Frontale had a foot in the next round, but a 120th minute goal brought the match even and forced spot kicks.
The excellent Jung Sung-Ryong took centerstage in the shootout, making two stops and taking Frontale into the semis.
Frontale will take on Avispa Fukuoka for a spot in the final after Avi dispatched Shonan Bellmare. Avi actually fell behind after four minutes, but stormed back with a brace by Yuya Yamagishi and Ryoga Sato’s final tally to send them into the club’s first Emperor’s Cup semi-final.
The semi-finals will be played on October 8.