Cerezo Osaka, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and Kashima Antlers became the first three teams to advance out of the 2022 J.League YBC Levain Cup group stage thanks to results on Matchday 5.
Kashima jumped to 10 points in Group A play with a 3-0 win over 10-man Oita Trinita. All three goals came after halftime, as Antlers turned on the pressure to assure their spot in the knockout stages. Cerezo played rivals Gamba Osaka to a scoreless draw to join Kashima on 10 points, five clear of third place as both advance on in the competition.
Sanfrecce booked their spot in the play-off round thanks to a dominant performance in a 4-0 win over Tokushima Vortis. Yoshifumi Kashiwa scored just four minutes in, Tsukasa Morishima added another after 12 minutes and then Júnior Santos scored two to wrap up the win that has assured Sanfrecce first place in Group B.
Elsewhere in Group B, Mu Kanazaki’s goal fired Nagoya Grampus to a 1-0 win over Shimizu S-Pulse, putting them in second place on seven points. S-Pulse are only two points back and Vortis are still in the fight on four points as the group heads to the final matchday set to fight for the final advancement spot.
Kashiwa Reysol left things late, but two stoppage time goals by Matheus Sávio brought them back to beat Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, 2-1. That win puts them top of Group C on eight points, a point ahead of Consa.
Sagan Tosu beat Kyoto Sanga 3-0 and now they are level on points with Consa for second place, while Sanga are still in play on five points. The final matchday will feature all four teams in Group C separated by only three points with both advancement places to play for.
Avispa Fukuoka jumped up the table in Group D thanks to a 2-1 win over Shonan Bellmare. Goals by Jordy Croux and Juanma did the job for Fukuoka, who are now level on eight points with Shonan for the top spot.
Júbilo Iwata beat F.C.Tokyo, 2-1, eliminating the capital club from the competition and putting Júbilo on seven points and very much in the running to get out of the group.