The quarter-finals of the J.League YBC Levain Cup absolutely delivered thrills. All four ties went to the second legs either level or separated by just one goal, then the second legs saw two teams come-from-behind to book their spots in the semi-finals, while another went to extra time.
Avi lost their first leg to F.C.Tokyo, 1-0, but bounced back at home in the second leg. Yuya Yamigishi scored to bring the tie level, then Itsuki Oda found the back of the net in first half stoppage time to fire Fukuoka into the first J.League Cup semi-final in club history.
Marinos pulled off a comeback of their own, overcoming a 3-2 first leg deficit. The mighty Tricolor attack led the way, with Kota Mizunuma, Anderson Lopes and Nam Tae-hee all tallying in a dominant second 90 minutes that saw Marinos roll past Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo and into the final four.
The most thrilling second leg belonged to Nagoya Grampus and Kashima Antlers. Nagoya scored in stoppage time of the first leg to earn a 1-1 draw and, in the second leg they picked up right where they left when Taika Nakashima scored in the third minute. Kashima struck back through Hayato Nakama, sending the match to extra time, where Haruki Yoshida took centerstage. The 20-year-old scored a dramatic winner one minute before the match would go to penalty kicks, lifting Grampus into the semis.
The semi-finals are now set, with Avispa Fukuoka and Nagoya Grampus set to meet, while Marinos and Urawa will do better in the other tie. The first legs will be played on October 11, with the second legs to follow on October 15.