The penultimate round of the 2017 MEIJI YASUDA J2 League took place over the weekend, promising an exciting climax as four teams vie for a spot in the J1 Promotion Playoff.
The story of Saturday was V-Varen Nagasaki, who clinched second place and automatic promotion to next year’s J1 after a dramatic 3-1 win over Kamatamare Sanuki in front of a beyond-capacity crowd at Transcosmos Stadium.
They were able to claim their spot after Avispa Fukuoka drew 1-1 against Matsumoto Yamaga and Nagoya Grampus lost 3-0 to a resurgent JEF United Chiba, who have won seven in a row.
Tokushima Vortis bumped long-shots Oita Trinita out of playoff contention with a 1-0 win at home to remain in fifth place, while Tokyo Verdy stayed in sixth after a 1-0 win at Kyoto Sanga. The two sides are tied at 67 points, with Vortis holding a significant advantage on goal difference.
Following them in the chase for the playoffs are Matsumoto in seventh with 66 points and JEF in eighth with 65 points.
Yokohama FC, who had hoped to remain in the hunt, instead found themselves eliminated after Fagiano Okayama’s Kojiro Shinohara scored the 1-1 equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time.
The result means that Yokohama will have officially gone a decade without participating in the J1.
The regular season will conclude on Sunday, November 19, with all matches kicking off at 16:00 JST.