J.League YBC Levain Cup Update: Kataller Toyama, V-Varen Nagasaki pull off stunners

J.League YBC Levain Cup Update: Kataller Toyama, V-Varen Nagasaki pull off stunners

The upsets kept on coming in Round 3 of the J.League YBC Levain Cup as J3’s Kataller Toyama and J2’s V-Varen Nagasaki took down top flight clubs in a night of cup action to remember.

Kataller won their first two rounds over second division sides, but their Round 3 contest was a whole other challenge. They were up against Vissel Kobe, J1’s reigning champions and current second-place team.

Vissel hit first as Haruya Ide found the back of the net in the 19th minute, but Kataller weren’t fazed. They kept playing and it paid off when a 70th minute own goal brought the match level. They then fought all the way to penalty kicks.

Kataller were handed a gift as Taisei Miyashiro’s opening spot kick smashed off the bar, but they still had a lot of work to do. The third division side were up to the task, drilling all five on their penalty kicks to knock Japan’s top team out of the competition and book their spot into the next round.

V-Varen had already proven they could beat a first division team when they ousted Júbilo Iwata in Round 2 and they took down another by toppling Urawa Reds.

It wasn't as straightforward as the scoreline might suggest, though, after a 70th-minute red card to Malcolm Tsuyoshi Moyo put V-Varen in a hole. They could have folded with 10 men, but instead they pushed on and it paid off when Marcos Guilherme’s cross in the 79th minute found Juanma, who nodded home the winner.

That goal gave V-Varen a second victory against a top-flight club and sent them onward to the Playoff Round.

The noteworthy evening of cup action also saw tournament holders Avispa Fukuoka dumped out of the competition in dramatic fashion. A stoppage-time own goal doomed them in a hard fought match with Kashiwa Reysol, ending their hopes of repeating as J.League YBC Levain Cup winners.

The Playoff Round will begin in two weeks with the first legs on June 5 and the second legs four days later. The five winners will then move into the quarter-finals, where they will be joined by the three AFC Champions League knockout stage teams from this year: Kawasaki Frontale, Yokohama F. Marinos, and Ventforet Kofu.