Fukuoka, Sanga pick up big wins in bid to qualify for J.League YBC Levain Cup knockouts

Fukuoka, Sanga pick up big wins in bid to qualify for J.League YBC Levain Cup knockouts

Matchday 5 of the J.League YBC Levain Cup brought some tantalizing action. Two teams, Yokohama F·Marinos and Nagoya Grampus are assured of places in the knockouts stages, while six spots are still to be decided.

What happened on Matchday 5 to bring us here? Let’s go through it all:

Group A

Yokohama F·Marinos had won every match of the competition, but Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo finally took them down. Lucas Fernandes, Milan Tučić and Ryota Aoki all scored in the second half to lead Consa to a 3-2 victory that put them on 10 points, two back of Marinos atop the group. While first place in the group will come down to the final day, the Tricolor have already guaranteed themselves a spot in the knockout stages.

Júbilo Iwata notched their first points of the competition by topping Sagan Tosu thanks to goals by Fabian Gonzalez and Shota Kaneko, but it won’t have any bearing on the knockout stages. Both Júbilo and Sagan have been mathematically eliminated from advancing.

Group B

Urawa Reds and Shimizu S-Pulse each pulled off wins on Matchday 5 to take over the top two spots in the group. Both are on seven points, with the Reds ahead on goal difference.

Urawa beat Kawasaki Frontale, coming back from an early deficit with a goal from José Kanté then an 89th minute own goal. S-Pulse also struck late, breaking a 2-2 draw with Shonan Bellmare when Thiago Santana scored in the 81st minute. The fight for Group B will go to the final day still, with Bellmare and Frontale on five and four points respectively so each of the teams can finish anywhere from first to last.

Group C

Nagoya Grampus dropped points for the first time in the cup, falling to Vissel Kobe, 1-0, as Lincoln scored the lone goal just after the hour mark. The Ushi cannot mathematically advance, but they took a big win with them out of the group stage, while Grampus have already clinched a place in the knockouts..

Yokohama FC are also eliminated, but they too picked up a good win by toppling Sanfrecce Hiroshima, 1-0. Yuri Luna scored the goal for the Fulie, leaving the Viola three points back of Nagoya heading into the final day, when the group’s top two teams will play for first place in Group C.

Group D

Avispa Fukuoka took control of Group D with a late comeback win over Albirex Niigata. Albi scored inside of four minutes, but Reiju Tsuruno and Itsuki Oda each scored in the final 15 minutes to earn Fukuoka a win that took them three points clear atop the group.

In the group’s other match, Arthur Caike scored in the 68h minute to deliver Kashima Antlers a 1-0 win over Kashiwa Reysol that put them into second place. Reysol have been eliminated, but Kashima and Avi are separated by just one point for second place going into the final day of the group.

Group E

Kyoto Sanga find themselves atop Group E on nine points after Kosuke Kinoshita buried a penalty kick to beat Gamba Osaka, 1-0, but the Nerazzurri are still very much in the thick of it.

Gamba sit in second place on seven points, level with F.C.Tokyo, who played to a scoreless draw with Cerezo Osaka. The Sakura are on five points, so they can still make their way to second place in Group E and advance to the knockout stages, giving all four teams everything to play for on Matchday 6.