Public Levain Cup quarter-final draw takes place

Public Levain Cup quarter-final draw takes place

The draw for the 2017 J.League YBC Levain Cup Knockout Stage took place on Monday afternoon at Fuji Television in downtown Tokyo.

Despite temperatures that soared above 30 Celsius, fans turned out in force to the ‘Minna no Yume Tairiku Stage’ in order to watch the tournament’s first public draw in 10 years.

J.League vice chairman Hiromi Hara and Female Manager Miki Sato were joined by players from each of the eight participating clubs, who drew lots to determine the matchups for the quarterfinals onward.

Here’s what the players had to say about the quarter-finals, which will take place on August 30 and September 3:

Gamba Osaka vs. Vissel Kobe

Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka)

“Vissel Kobe are getting a lot of attention these days, so we want to beat them and advance. It’s a Kansai Derby so we absolutely can’t lose. We’re still disappointed about losing the last two finals. As a team we need to work hard and take that last step together.”

Kazuma Watanabe (Vissel Kobe)

“We can’t lose the Kansai Derby. We want to play well in order to win. To win the title, first we have to beat Gamba Osaka and advance to the semifinal.”

Urawa Reds vs. Cerezo Osaka

Yuki Muto (Urawa Reds)

“Last year I participated in the draw and we won the title. As soon as we won I knew I’d participate in the draw again (laughs). Cerezo Osaka are in good form in the league and we lost to them recently. We want to get revenge against them in this series. We want to play appropriately as defending champions and celebrate with everyone at Saitama Stadium again.”

Yasuki Kimoto (Cerezo Osaka)

“It’s a matchup between two strong sides, but we want to demonstrate everything we’ve developed this season. This is our first season promoted up from the J2, so we want to face this tournament as challengers and not become overconfident. We’re doing well in the J1 and we want that momentum to carry to the Levain Cup.

FC Tokyo vs. Kawasaki Frontale

Shoya Nakajima (FC Tokyo)

“I’m really looking forward to it. It will be an interesting series. Both home and away matches will be difficult, but I want to have fun and play a good match.”

Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)

“We lost to FC Tokyo in the J1 (this spring), so we want to pay them back. We’ll face each other in the league this Saturday, and if we can win at home we’ll have momentum going into this series. It’s home and away, so even if we don’t get a good result in one match we’ll still have a chance.”

Kashima Antlers vs. Vegalta Sendai 

Daigo Nishi (Kashima Antlers)

“I hope both teams will play well. Vegalta Sendai’s home stadium has a very unique atmosphere and we have to stand strong. The home-and-away format makes it different from a regular league match. The first leg is away but I hope we can play well and earn a good result.”

Takumi Sasaki (Vegalta Sendai)

“Kashima are individually very skilled and they’re a strong team who know how to win. But we finished the Group Stage in first place, so we want to continue our good form in this tournament and win the championship.”


2017 J.League YBC Levain Cup Quarterfinals Schedule

First Leg (Wednesday, August 30)

Vissel Kobe vs. Gamba Osaka (19:00, Noevir Stadium)
Cerezo Osaka vs. Urawa Reds (19:00, Yanmar Stadium)
Kawasaki Frontale vs. FC Tokyo (19:00, Todoroki Stadium)
Vegalta Sendai vs. Kashima Antlers (19:00, Yurtec Stadium)

Second Leg (Sunday, September 3)

Gamba Osaka vs. Vissel Kobe (19:00, Suita Stadium)
Urawa Reds vs. Cerezo Osaka (18:30, Saitama Stadium)
FC Tokyo vs. Kawasaki Frontale (19:00, Ajinomoto Stadium)
Kashima Antlers vs. Vegalta Sendai (18:00, Kashima Stadium)