The 2018 J.League YBC Levain Cup opened on Wednesday night with the start of the round-robin group stage featuring 14 J1 and two J2 League clubs.
In Group A, Tatsuya Tanaka scored in stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Albirex Niigata at Vegalta Sendai. At Mitsuzawa Stadium, Yokohama F. Marinos protected Ippei Shinozuka’s early goal for a 1-0 win over FC Tokyo.
In Group B, Ventforet Kofu overwhelmed Consadole Sapporo in a 3-0 win, with Junior Barros scoring twice following Kota Mori’s opener. Further west, Shimizu S-Pulse defeated Jubilo Iwata 1-0 in a Shizuoka Derby match, with Chong Tese scoring the lone goal of the match.
Group C welcomed a pair of lopsided results: Urawa Reds defeated Nagoya Grampus 4-1 on doubles by Shinzo Koroki and Takuya Ogiwara, with Hisato Sato scoring a consolation for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Masato Kudo and Kosei Shibasaki both netted twice in Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s 4-0 win at Gamba Osaka.
In Group D, Kaoru Takayama’s goal gave Shonan Bellmare a 1-0 win over Sagan Tosu, while Lukas Podolski’s two goals salvaged a 2-2 draw for Vissel Kobe against visiting V-Varen Nagasaki.
The second round of the group stage will take place next week on March 14.