The 97th Emperor’s Cup kicked off over the weekend with an opening round featuring representatives from each of Japan’s prefectures, including 10 clubs from the MEIJI YASUDA J3 League.
While Giravanz Kitakyushu got off to an enthusiastic start with a 10-0 win over R-Velho Takamatsu, teams such as AC Nagano Parceiro, Azul Claro Numazu and Kataller Toyama scraped through to the second round with narrow 1-0 wins.
The early rounds of the tournament feature no shortage of upsets, and this year was no exception as Blaublitz Akita were defeated 2-1 by Tokyo representatives Kokushikan University.
YSCC Yokohama also struggled against student opposition, losing 2-1 to the University of Tsukuba.
FC Ryukyu’s early exit came after a thrilling 5-5 draw against FC Imabari that finished in penalties, with the JFL side triumphing 5-3 from the spot.
Grulla Morioka needed two late goals to record their 2-0 win over Sony Sendai, while Kagoshima United’s Noriaki Fujimoto scored on the verge of full time to give his team a win over fellow J3 opponents Gainare Tottori.
Winners from the first round will join J1 and J2 League teams in the second round, which takes place on June 21.