Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Kyoto Sanga, Kashima Antlers and Ventforet Kofu are the final four teams in the 2022 Emperor’s Cup. The quartet prevailed in their respective quarter-finals, keeping their dreams alive to win the tournament’s 102nd edition.
The Viola’s quarter-final win was the most dramatic of the round, with a pair of late goals bringing them from behind to defeat Cerezo Osaka. Trailing 1-0 in the 86th minute, Yoshifumi Kashiwa scored to get Sanfrecce even, then Takumu Kawamura found the net six minutes into stoppage time to deliver the Viola a semi-final place.
Sanfrecce’s semi-final opponent will be Kyoto Sanga, after the fellow Meiji Yasuda J1 League side beat Tokyo Verdy to advance. Paulinho Bóia was the star, with goals on both sides of halftime putting Sanga out of reach before Verdy scored a late consolation goal.
Antlers left their quarter-final tie for the last 30 minutes after a tense opening hour against Vissel Kobe. Yuma Suzuki played the role of hero, scoring in the 63rd minute for the lone goal as Kashima advanced to keep their dream of a sixth Emperor’s Cup alive.
Ventforet toppled Avispa Fukuoka, 2-1, to become the second division’s lone representative in the final four. Kazushi Mitsuhira put the J2 side up early, only for Avispa to equalize and force extra time. Ventforet prevailed in the added period, though, thanks to a Yoshiki Torikai goal that put them in front for good and kept their dream of a first-ever cup alive.
The semi-finals will be played on October 5.