The FIFA international break saw some of Japan’s best players suit up for the Samurai Blue, but that wasn’t all the best action in Japanese football. This weekend saw 20 of the country’s best teams competing in J.League YBC Levain Cup action, so how did Matchday 2 of the group stage go?
Yokohama F·Marinos sit top of the group after picking up their second win, this time finishing strong to beat Sagan Tosu. Asahi Uenaka scored in the 79th minute to break the deadlock, then Kaina Yoshio added another seven minutes later to make it six points from two matches for the Tricolor, while Sagan are still stuck on one point.
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo took waiting late to a whole other level in the other Group A clash. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead through goals by Shunta Tanaka and Takuro Kaneko, Consa saw Júbilo Iwata battle back with two goals in seven minutes to bring things level. The match looked bound for a draw, but Shido Izuma came off the bench in his first professional match and scored seven minutes into stoppage time for a magnificent finish to a great Sapporo win that has them second in the group on four points.
Shimizu S-Pulse kept their place atop Group B thanks to Benjamin Kololli. After conceding a first half goal against Urawa Reds, Kololli brought S-Pulse even after the break for a 1-1 draw that put them on four points, two clear of second place Urawa.
Meanwhile, Kawasaki Frontale’s struggles across all competitions continued as they played to a scoreless draw with Shonan Bellmare. The result put Bellmare on two points, level with Urawa, while Frontale are bottom of the group with just one.
Nagoya Grampus joined Marinos are the lone teams in the competition with six points from two matches after defeating Sanfrecce Hiroshima, 2-1. The Viola struck first, but Ryoya Morishita brought Nagoya even on the hour mark and Kensuke Nagai won it three minutes later to put them three points ahead of second place Sanfrecce.
Vissel Kobe moved level with Sanfrecce on three points thanks to a victory over Yokohama FC. Yuya Osako’s 85th minute goal proved to be the difference and left the Fulie still in search of their first result of the cup.
Avispa Fukuoka and Kashiwa Reysol played a thriller that rightfully ended in a draw. Takumi Tsuchiya put Reysol up early and Jay-Roy Grot doubled their lead, but Yuya Yamagishi found the back of the net for Avi to cut the lead in half. Reysol then restored their two-goal lead thanks to Grot’s second of the game, but Avi finished spectacularly, with Lukian scoring in the 79th minute and Masato Yuzawa equalizing in the 90th for a 3-3 draw.
Elsewhere in Group D, Albirex Niigata kept their terrific start to the season going as Hiroki Akiyama scored the lone goal to beat Kashima Antlers. Albi are now second in the group on three points, one back of Avi.
The Osaka Derby is always a treat and the cup version was no different. Seiya Maikuma’s goal had Cerezo Osaka on the verge of a victory, but Ryotaro Meshino found the back of the net in stoppage time to steal a draw for Gamba Osaka that has the rivals joint top of Group E on four points apiece.
F.C.Tokyo are a strong third place in the group after demolishing Kyoto Sanga, 5-0. Perotti led the way with two goals, while Henrique Trevisan, Adaílton and Naoki Kumata all put one in as part of a phenomenal day for the capital club.