Kyoto Sanga F.C. have clinched the second promotion place to the 2022 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE and will play in the top flight for the first time since 2010. Sanga booked their spot in next season’s first division with a scoreless draw against JEF United Chiba on Sunday, clinching second place in J2 with one match to spare.
With the best defense in the league all season, conceding just 31 goals through 41 matches, it is fitting that Sanga secured promotion with a clean sheet. Manager Cho Kwi-jae, a former defender himself, took over as Sanga manager this year and immediately turned them from a middling defensive side into the best J2 has to offer.
Kyoto also owe their success to the exploits up front of 37-year-old Peter Utaka, who has scored 21 goals this campaign, good for second in the division.
Sanga spent their first 15 seasons bouncing between the first and second tiers, but have remained in J2 since being relegated in 2010. Now, Kyoto are heading back to J1, with their terrific defense, Utaka’s goalscoring, and a tremendous team spirit to thank.