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These J.LEAGUE teams have the gift of AFC Champions League football to look forward to in 2022

Fri, 24 Dec 2021 - 07:00 JST
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These J.LEAGUE teams have the gift of AFC Champions League football to look forward to in 2022

The four teams that will represent Japan in the 2022 AFC Champions League are set, with Kawasaki Frontale, Yokohama F·Marinos, Vissel Kobe and Urawa Reds all playing for continental glory next year.

Frontale qualified for the competition by winning the 2021 MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE. It marked the second season in a row and fourth time in five years that they were crowned champions of Japan, earning the AFC Champions League place that came with it. Frontale won their group in the 2021 AFC Champions League before falling to Korean side Ulsan Hyundai on penalties in the round of 16.

Marinos’ second place finish in the league is sending them to the Champions League again after missing out last campaign. They made it to the round of 16 in 2020, marking the furthest they have been in the Asian championship in their five appearances.

A club-record finish of third place is sending Vissel to the AFC Champions League as well. They made their first-ever appearance in the competition in 2020, when they made it to the semi-finals and were only eliminated after extra time.

Urawa took a different route to the ACL, qualifying despite their sixth-place league finish, thanks to their Emperor’s Cup title. The Reds are Japan’s only two-time champions of Asia, having won the titles in 2007 and 2017. They last played in the Champions League in 2019, when they made the final and nearly won a third Asian championship.