Verdy defeated JEF United Chiba, 2-1, on a cold day in Tokyo to book their spot in the final. Hikaru Nakahara’s pinpoint finish put the home side on their way before Koki Morita headed home for what would prove to be the winning goal. A late JEF United goal made for a nervy finish, but Verdy held on and are now 90 minutes away from a place in the top flight for the first time since 2008.
Things were even more difficult for S-Pulse, who struggled to find a way through Montedio Yamagata. A long distance blast off the post was as close as S-Pulse got, with the bulk of the chances going the way of the visitors. Fortunately for the men in orange, Takuo Okubo was outstanding in goal and turned Yamagata away repeatedly to preserve the 0-0 draw that saw S-Pulse advance as the higher seed.
It’s been a very long wait for Verdy, who have been toiling tirelessly in the second tier for a decade and a half, while S-Pulse are trying to leap back into the top flight after just one season away. Whose dream will come true? Find out on December 2 at the Japan National Stadium.