Cup Update: Underdogs Kataller Toyama impress again in J.League YBC Levain Cup play-off round

Cup Update: Underdogs Kataller Toyama impress again in J.League YBC Levain Cup play-off round

The first leg of the J.League YBC Levain Cup play-off round brought goals. Lots of them.

All 10 teams scored at least one goal in the opening foray of their knockout-stage ties, setting the stage for what should be thrilling second legs.

Kataller Toyama, the J3 side that won three games to reach this round, acquitted themselves well in their play-off round opener. Shosei Usui scored after just eight minutes and while a late own goal kept them from victory, a 1-1 draw at Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo puts them in a strong position headed back to Toyama for the second leg.

Things didn’t go quite as well for the other lower-division side left in the competition, V-Varen Nagasaki. The J2 club also scored early, but Yota Komi and Motoki Nagakura both found the back of the net to deliver Albirex Niigata the win. Still, V-Varen have a chance to stage a comeback with the second leg to be played in Nagasaki.

Elsewhere, J1’s current leaders, FC Machida Zelvia, continued their push for the club’s first major trophy with a 3-1 road win at Cerezo Osaka.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima had an impressive away victory of their own as Mutsuki Kato and Taishi Matsumoto scored a minute apart to win at FC Tokyo, 2-1.

Finally, Nagoya Grampus and Kashiwa Reysol played to a 1-1 draw. Yuya Yamagishi struck first for the visitors before Tomoki Takamine equalized for Reysol.

The second legs of the play-off round will all be played on Sunday, with the winners of the five ties advancing to the quarter-finals. They will be joined there by Yokohama F·Marinos, Kawasaki Frontale and Ventforet Kofu, who are all entering the tournament at that stage after making the AFC Champions League knockout stages.