Another matchday is in the books in the 2021 J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP! Let's take a quick look at the results around the competition.
Things remain much the same in Group A after both games were played to draws on Matchday 4. Kashima Antlers remain on top of the pack after Sagan Tosu became the first to take points from them in this competition. Chikeluba Ofoedu got the scoring started for Sagan, only for Kashima to hit back through Daiki Sugioka and an own goal, but a 73th minute tally ensured that the points would be split.
It took a little while for things to get going in the other Group A contest, but the last few minutes in Sapporo were a doozy. Anderson Lopes broke the deadlock in the 84th minute and put Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo in line for the win, but John Mary’s stoppage-time strike netted a crucial point for Avispa Fukuoka in his competition debut.
Kashima still lead the group with 10 points, while Consa follow with seven. Fukuoka are still in the hunt with four points of their own, while Sagan sit bottom with just one point.
F.C.Tokyo are another team that entered Matchday 4 perfect, but were upended by a draw. Akira Hamashita gave Tokushima Vortis an early advantage, but Tokyo played well and when Brazilian defender Bruno Uvini hit back just after halftime it was surely deserved as the two sides saw out a 1-1 draw.
Both Vissel Kobe and Oita Trinita had a golden opportunity to take advantage in the race for second place in Group B, but neither were able to capitalize. Vissel’s chances were mostly dashed in the 63rd minute when Asahi Masuyama was shown a red card and Trinita failed to make their man advantage count in what ended as a scoreless draw.
F.C.Tokyo remain atop Group B with 10 points, while the three other teams are all on four points with two match days to go.
Shonan Bellmare and Urawa Reds played a tight match where neither team could gain an advantage as they settled for a point apiece, but the other Group C contest stood out on Matchday 4.
Ryo Germain struck for Yokohama FC in the 58th minute, then Katsuya Iwatake added a late goal to seal up a crucial win over Kashiwa Reysol for a team that has struggled this season, but is playing well in the cup. And, if that wasn’t enough to celebrate, Yokohama FC saw the return of Kazuyoshi “King Kazu” Miura, as the 54-year-old forward joined proceedings late in the second half.
The win moves Yokohama FC joint top of Group C with Shonan on six points apiece, but things are still wide open. Urawa have five points and Reysol four as they remain well within striking distance of the top.
Red hot Yokohama F·Marinos stayed, well, red hot. Jun Amano scored after just eight minutes, then Ryonosuke Kabayama added a goal of his own in the 33rd minute. Vegalta hit right back to make it 2-1, but the match was never really that competitive. Amano added a second just after halftime, then Kota Mizunuma scored two of his own, so by the time Vegalta scored in stoppage time, the match was in the bag. At the final whistle, Marinos walked away 5-2 winners.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima made a crucial stand in their fight to make the knockout stages with a win over Shimizu S-Pulse. Yoichi Naganuma opened the scoring, and then Sanfrecce got some help with an own goal, making the score 2-0 just after the half. While S-Pulse pulled one back through Hiroshi Ibusuki, it was not enough in the end, as Sanfrecce collected their first win in the competition to stay in the fight for the next round.
Marinos still top Group D with 10 points, while Shimizu still sit second with five points. Sanfrecce are now right on their heels with four points, while Vegalta remain in the race with three points.
We'll be back with more 2021 J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP action soon, so be sure to keep an eye on our website and social media for highlights and future broadcast announcements.