Sagan Tosu needed Kota Mizunuma’s 92nd minute winner to edge a thrilling Emperor’s Cup fourth round encounter with Montedio Yamagata 4-3, scraping into the quarter-finals of the competition.
Mizunuma netted a key brace for his side on Saturday, first bagging an equaliser after Sagan went 2-1 down, before firing in the winner in stoppages to seal a densely-plotted victory.
Kei Ikeda struck the opener in the 11th minute before Diego equalised right before the break, but things began going against plan when Toshiya Takagi put Montedio in the lead when play restarted.
Mizunuma equalised before Hiroyuki Taniguchi put Hitoshi Morishita’s side back in the lead once more, but Montedio persisted and were rewarded with Diego’s second in the 88th minute in a wide-open encounter.
The tie appeared to be going on to extra time when Mizunuma ended their visitors’ resistance once and for all, striking the seventh and final goal in a breaktaking contest.
In other action, Vissel Kobe continued their resurgence of late by defeating Yokohama F.Marinos 1-0 thanks to Ryota Morioka’s 75th-minute strike.
Vegalta Sendai join Nelsinho’s men in the quarter-finals after Shingo Tomita and Naoki Sugai’s second-half goals sealed a deserved 2-1 win over Matsumoto Yamaga.