Vegalta & Vissel qualify for Levain Cup Knockout Stage

Vegalta & Vissel qualify for Levain Cup Knockout Stage

The final matchday of the 2017 J.League YBC Levain Cup Group Stage took place on Wednesday night, with several of the participating teams still vying for a place in the Knockout Stage.

FC Tokyo came into their finale at last-place Shimizu S-Pulse needing a win to top the group, taking a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute when Ryoya Ogawa scored his first goal of the year. 

But S-Pulse striker Koya Kitagawa equalised just before the interval, and defender Taisuke Muramatsu scored the winner in the 77th minute to keep the capital side in second place and force their participation in the Playoff Stage.

Goals by Akito Fukumori and Macedo were enough to give Consadole Sapporo a 2-1 win over Kashiwa Reysol, allowing them to overtake Jubilo Iwata for third place after the Yamaha Stadium residents lost 2-1 to Omiya Ardija.

Junya Tanaka’s 52nd-minute goal gave Vissel Kobe a 1-0 win at Albirex Niigata, pipping Kansai rivals Cerezo Osaka for Group B’s first place in the process.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima also snuck into the Playoff Stage, beating Yokohama F. Marinos 2-1 at Mitsuzawa Stadium to finish in third place.

The final standings see Vegalta Sendai and Vissel Kobe join AFC Champions League participants Kashima Antlers, Urawa Reds, Kawasaki Frontale and Gamba Osaka in the Knockout Stage. 

The final two quarter-final berths will be determined by the two-legged Playoff Stage in which FC Tokyo will face Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Consadole Sapporo will take on Cerezo Osaka.