League Cup

Levain Cup trophy unveiled

The J.League YBC Levain Cup trophy was unveiled on Wednesday at JFA House in downtown Tokyo.

Designed by Tiffany & Co, the classic silhouette invokes both the orthodox style of cup trophies and the noble elegance of the Tiffany brand. 

The trophy, constructed out of pure silver, is finished with a gold and silver ball at the top.

The semi-finals of the Levain cup will take place on October 5 and 9 before the final at Saitama Stadium on October 15.

League Cup

J.League seeks “Official Instagrammers” for Levain Cup Final

The J.League has announced plans for #InstaLevainCup, a special social media event to be held in conjunction with the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup Final on October 15 at Saitama Stadium.

The league will be recruiting four users to take over the J.League Instagram account for two days to share their unique viewpoint of the final with followers around the world.

Fans in Japan who fulfil all related requirements are encouraged to apply here (Application only available in Japanese)

[Official Events]

Day 1 (Oct. 14) - Pre-match training, pre-match press event
Day 2 (Oct. 15) - Levain Cup Final (participating teams TBD)

[Photography Schedule]

Day 1 (Oct 14) - 10:00 ~ 20:00 JST
Day 2 (Oct 15) - 10:00 ~ 16:00 JST (Kickoff 13:05 JST)


Day 1: Saitama Stadium 2002 and local hotel (details to be shared with #InstaLevainCup participants) 

Day 2: Saitama Stadium 2002

[Important Points]

- The usage of drones and other unique photography devices is prohibited.
- Participants may be subject to media requests, including video interviews.
-The J.League reserves secondary usage rights (including reposts etc) of content created during the event.
- Posts may be checked by J.League officials to ensure that all rules related to permitted photography areas has been followed.
- Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. 
- However, the J.League will arrange transportation from Friday’s pre-match training to the pre-match press event.

[Application Requirements]

- Applicants must use Instagram.
- Applicants must be able to understand and follow all media coverage rules.

[Application Rules]

- The J.League will select four (4) Levain Cup 2016 Instagrammers
- Those interested in applying must fill out the official entry form.
- The deadline for applications is September 30 (Fri)
- After reviewing all applications, the J.League will contact successful applicants on October 5 via direct message from the J.League Official Instagram (@jleaguejp).

League Cup

2016 J.League Championship schedule confirmed

The J.League has announced its schedule for the MEIJI YASUDA 2016 J.League Championship, confirming dates for the semi-final as well as the first leg of the final.

Venues and kick-off times will be confirmed following the conclusion of the 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League Second Stage.

Kashima Antlers have booked their place in the title-deciding tournament following their victory in the First Stage.

The two sides that will join them there will be decided at the end of the Second Stage.

MEIJI YASUDA 2016 J.League Championship Schedule

Round 1 - November 6 (Sun) [Broadcasters: SkyPerfecTV/BS-TBS]
Semi-final - November 23 (Wed) [Broadcasters: SkyPerfecTV/NHK/BS-TBS]
Final First Leg - November 29 (Tue) [Broadcasters: SkyPerfecTV/TBS]
Final Second Leg - December 3 (Sat) [Broadcasters: SkyPerfecTV/NHK]

League Cup

Gamba join Reds in Levain Cup semi-finals

Wins both large and narrow on Sunday propelled four teams into the semi-finals of the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup.

At Mitsuzawa Stadium, Kayke’s goal on the verge of half-time gave Yokohama F. Marinos a 1-0 win over Omiya Ardija, allowing the hosts to advance on away goals with a 2-2 aggregate score.

Urawa Reds left no question of their desire to lift the Cup at their home stadium, beating Vissel Kobe 4-0 with two goals from Toshiyuki Takagi as well as strikes from Yuki Abe and Tadanari Lee to claim a 6-1 aggregate victory. 

Following their 2-2 draw in the first leg, Gamba Osaka dominated at home in a 6-3 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima, with Shun Nagasawa scoring a first half brace and Ademilson finding his own double in a four-minute period after the hour mark. 

The Suita Stadium residents are now two matches away from appearing in a third straight J.League Cup final.

FC Tokyo shrugged off their 1-1 home draw to Avispa Fukuoka, with Soutan Tanabe and Hideto Takahashi scoring in a 2-0 win at Level 5 Stadium. 

The capital club are looking to win their first J.League Cup since 2009.

The semifinals will take place on October 5 and 9, with Gamba Osaka facing Yokohama F. Marinos and FC Tokyo challenging Urawa Reds. 

The final is scheduled to kick off just one week later on October 15 at Saitama Stadium.

League Cup

Reds Umesaki injures ACL

Urawa Reds midfielder Tsukasa Umesaki has suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, the club announced on Friday.

The injury took place during the team’s 2-1 win at Vissel Kobe in the first leg of the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup quarter-final.

An announcement regarding Umesaki’s required recovery time on his left knee will be made following his scheduled surgery.

League Cup

Ardija, Urawa take lead in Levain Cup quarters

The first leg of the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup quarter-final delivered a set of dramatic results that are sure to have fans on the edge of their seat until the final whistles on Sunday.

Akihiro Ienaga’s late goal gave Omiya Ardija a 2-1 win over Yokohama F. Marinos, a large step toward reaching their first-ever cup final.

Kosei Shibasaki scored in the first half for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, but Gamba Osaka’s Hiroto Goya responded with his first-ever senior team goal in a 1-1 draw at Edion Stadium between the 2015 J.League Championship finalists.

A last-minute stunner by Yuta Mishima gave Avispa Fukuoka an important 1-1 draw at FC Tokyo, who reached the scoreboard via Rio Olympic striker Shoya Nakajima.

Meanwhile, Urawa Reds led for most of the match in their 2-1 win at Vissel Kobe, with all three goals coming in the first half. 

Toshiyuki Takagi put the visitors into the lead after just six minutes, and Leandro’s 35th-minute equaliser was for naught as Zlatan scored the game-winner shortly before halftime.

The return legs will take place on Sunday, September 4.

League Cup

Kick-off time finalised for Levain Cup Final

The kick-off time and broadcast details have been confirmed for the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup Final, which will take place on October 15 at Saitama Stadium.

The match, which will kick off at 13:05 JST, will be aired on Japan’s Fuji Television network nationwide.

The Knockout Stage for the tournament’s 24th edition will begin on August 31.

Japan’s four AFC Champions League participants will join the group stage’s top four clubs in the quarter-finals.

League Cup

Yamakoshi, Togashi amongst New Hero leaders

The J.League on Sunday announced voting results for the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup New Hero Award following the conclusion of the group stage.

The New Hero award recognises players under 23 years of age who excel in the tournament and is chosen by members of the media as well as a selection committee which includes J.League chairman Mitsuru Murai.

Omiya Ardija defender Kohei Yamakoshi, Yokohama F. Marinos striker Cayman Togashi and Vissel Kobe midfielder Yuya Nakasawa received the most votes in the group stage.

All three players will resume their quest to receive the honour on August 31 when the Knockout Stage begins.

League Cup

Quarter-finalists drawn for Levain Cup Knockout Stage

The draw for the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup Knockout Stage took place on Sunday night, with eight teams discovering their path to the title.

On the left side of the bracket, Yokohama F. Marinos will square off against Omiya Ardija while 2015 runners-up Gamba Osaka will face Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

On the right side of the bracket, Urawa Reds and Vissel Kobe will play each other three times in eight days due to their previously-scheduled MEIJI YASUDA J1 League fixture.

Meanwhile, FC Tokyo drew knockout stage debutants Avispa Fukuoka.

The quarter-finals will take place on August 31 and September 4.

League Cup

2016 J.League Cup renamed to J.League YBC Levain Cup

The J.League on Tuesday announced the renaming of the league’s cup tournament from the 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup to the 2016 J.League YBC Levain Cup.

The new name represents tournament sponsor Yamazaki Biscuit Company (YBC) as well as Levain, their new product line which is scheduled to launch in September.

The draw for the 2016 Levain Cup’s knockout stage will take place on July 3, with participants facing off in the first leg of the quarterfinals on August 31.

League Cup

F. Marinos reach Nabisco Cup quarterfinals

The final round of the 2016 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Group Stage took place on Sunday, with six Group B clubs starting the day still eligible to reach the quarterfinals.

Yokohama F. Marinos left nothing to chance, with Shunsuke Nakamura and Manabu Saito both scoring in a 2-0 win at Vegalta Sendai to ensure a first place finish in the group.

Kashiwa Reysol’s hopes were extinguished with a 1-1 draw at Sagan Tosu, as they could not find a game-winner after Ederson’s 79th-minute equaliser neutralised Kei Ikeda’s 31st-minute goal.

The miracle of the day took place at Level 5 Stadium, where Avispa Fukuoka recorded a stunning 4-2 win over Albirex Niigata to reach the Knockout Stage for the first time in club history.

In Group A, Vissel Kobe and Omiya Ardija, who were already assured of advancement to the Knockout Stage, won their respective matches against Shonan Bellmare and Kashima Antlers.

The four Group Stage survivors will join AFC Champions League participants Urawa Reds, FC Tokyo, Gamba Osaka, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the quarterfinals, which will take place on August 31 and September 4.

League Cup

Vissel, Ardija reach Nabisco Cup quarter-finals

The penultimate round of the 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Group Stage took place on Wednesday night, with Group B wide open heading into the final match day on June 5.

Vissel Kobe’s 4-0 win over already-eliminated Nagoya Grampus sent them to first place in Group A with 13 points, assuring them of passage to the Knockout Stages along with Omiya Ardija, who even with a bye remained in second place with 11 points.

Meanwhile, the situation in Group B is as chaotic as ever with six teams still in contention to advance. Kawasaki Frontale’s 2-1 win over Vegalta Sendai lifted them to first place with eight points.

But, with six matches played, they will watch from the sidelines as Vegalta, Yokohama F. Marinos (both with eight points), Kashiwa Reysol, Albirex Niigata (both with seven points), Avispa Fukuoka (six points), and the eliminated Sagan Tosu (three points) battle it out in the final round.

Vissel, Ardija, and the two clubs to emerge from Group B will join Japan’s AFC Champions League participants in the quarterfinals later this summer.

League Cup

Defending champions Antlers eliminated from Nabisco Cup

The fifth match day of the J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Group Stage took place on Wednesday night as teams continued to struggle for position in their respective groups.

Omiya Ardija remained on top of Group A following their 1-0 win over Jubilo Iwata, while defending champions Kashima Antlers are now out of the tournament after a 3-2 loss to plucky Shonan Bellmare.

In Group B, Kashiwa Reysol fell 2-1 to Albirex Niigata, while Yokohama F. Marinos fought to a 2-1 away win at Avispa Fukuoka thanks to Sho Ito’s stoppage time magic.

Matchday 6 will take place next week on May 25, while the group stage concludes on June 5.

League Cup

Reysol rise to second in Nabisco Cup Group B

The fourth round of the 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup took place on Wednesday night with six matches played across the two groups.

A dramatic stoppage time goal by Kosuke Taketomi saw Kashiwa Reysol past Kawasaki Frontale with a 2-1 win, bringing the 2013 winners into the second place position in Group B.

Yokohama F. Marinos protected Sho Ito’s first-half goal to secure a 1-0 win against Sagan Tosu, who are at the bottom of Group B with just one point from three matches.

Group A leaders Omiya Ardija settled for a point at Vissel Kobe, with Ataru Esaka’s 17th-minute goal nullified by Kazuma Watanabe’s equaliser just short of the hour mark.

Shonan Bellmare and Jubilo Iwata ended their encounter in a scoreless draw, as did Nagoya Grampus and Ventforet Kofu as well as Group B leaders Vegalta Sendai and Avispa Fukuoka.

League Cup

Togashi, Motegi amongst New Hero leaders

The J.League on Monday revealed partial balloting results for the 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup New Hero Award.

The award, which recognises players up to the age of 23 years old, is voted on by attending media representatives.

Yokohama F. Marinos striker Cayman Togashi, Vegalta Sendai midfielder Shunsuke Motegi and Jubilo Iwata defender Ryoma Ishida are amongst players with the most votes following three rounds of play.

The tournament’s group stage continues on Wednesday, April 20.

League Cup

Antlers overcome Grampus in Nabisco Cup

The third round of the 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup took place on Wednesday night with six matches taking place across the country.

At Paloma Mizuho Stadium, Kashima Antlers endured Ryunosuke Noda’s first-half goal to win 3-1 over Nagoya Grampus. 

Yasushi Endo, Caio, and Gen Shoji scored in the second half to complete the comeback for the visitors.

The absence of regular strikers Yoshito Okubo and Yu Kobayashi didn’t affect Kawasaki Frontale, who steamrolled hosts Albirex Niigata in a 5-0 win. 

Shogo Taniguchi and Kenta Kano notched two goals each, with Koji Hashimoto also finding the back of the net.

At Yamaha Stadium, veteran Daisuke Matsui needed just 15 seconds to score the lone goal in Jubilo Iwata’s 1-0 win over Ventforet Kofu.

League Cup

Pedro Junior brace sees Vissel down defending champs

Vissel Kobe were the biggest winners on Sunday in 2016 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup group stage action, earning a 4-1 victory over Kashima Antlers.

Pedro Junior scored twice for the hosts, with Kazuma Watanabe and Takahito Soma also finding the back of the net. 

Shuto Yamamoto managed a consolation for the visitors, who have started their title defence with two losses.

At Todoroki Stadium, Avispa Fukuoka managed an upset with a 1-0 win against Kawasaki Frontale after Yu Tamura scored late in the second half.

Shonan Bellmare and Vegalta Sendai also managed away wins at Nagoya Grampus and Kashiwa Reysol respectively, while Ventforet Kofu and Omiya Ardija played to a scoreless draw.

League Cup

Defending champs Antlers stumble in Cup opener

Kashima Antlers’ Yamazaki Nabisco Cup title defence got off to a rough start on Wednesday with a 1-2 loss to visiting Ventforet Kofu in the group stage’s opening round.

Australian midfielder Billy Celeski opened his account for the Yamanashi outfit after just six minutes, with Brazilian striker Nilson scoring at the start of the second half. 

Antlers defender Shuto Yamamoto put the hosts on the board at the hour mark, but an equaliser was not to be found.

Elsewhere, visiting Vissel Kobe were triumphant in a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Jubilo Iwata thanks to goals by Pedro Junior and Leandro. 

After the match, Jubilo supporters saluted former defender Masahiko Inoha, who joined Vissel this offseason after being released by the promoted side.

Meanwhile, the Kanagawa Derby between Kawasaki Frontale and Yokohama F. Marinos ended in a 0-0 draw.

League Cup

J1 sides gear up for Nabisco Cup

The 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup kicks off on Wednesday, marking the 24th edition of the league’s top cup tournament.

The competition, which began as the Japan Soccer League Cup in 1976, was first held under its current name in 1992 as a “debut” for J.League clubs ahead of the inaugural 1993 season. 

Verdy Kawasaki (now Tokyo Verdy) were the winners that year, also capturing the Cup in 1993 and 1994.

The final, scheduled for October 15, will take place at Saitama Stadium for a third straight year. In addition to a $900,000 prize, the winners will also earn the right to host the winners of the Copa Sudamericana in next year’s Suruga Bank Cup.

Defending champions Kashima Antlers, who have won the Cup a record six times, will start their campaign at home against Ventforet Kofu. 

Among the teams looking to unseat them are last year’s runners up and 2014 champions Gamba Osaka, who along with Japan’s three other AFC Champions League representatives will join from the knockout stage.

As usual, the Cup will also be a chance for the league’s younger talent to establish themselves. The New Hero Award, recognising the best tournament participant under the age of 23, will be announced before the final. 

Previous winners include Gamba Osaka’s Takashi Usami, Yokohama F. Marinos’ Manabu Saito and Kashima Antlers’ Mu Kanazaki.

■ 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Group Stage

Group A: Kashima Antlers, Omiya Ardija, Shonan Bellmare, Ventforet Kofu, Jubilo Iwata, Nagoya Grampus, Vissel Kobe

Group B: Vegalta Sendai, Kashiwa Reysol, Kawasaki Frontale, Yokohama F.Marinos, Albirex Niigata, Avispa Fukuoka, Sagan Tosu

Seeded to Knockout Stage: Urawa Reds, FC Tokyo, Gamba Osaka, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, 

■ 2016 J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Schedule

Group Stage: March 23 through June 5

Knockout Stage

Quarterfinals: August 31, September 4

Semifinals: October 5, October 9

Final: October 15


Saitama Stadium to host Nabisco Cup Final

The J.League on Tuesday announced Saitama Stadium 2002 as host venue of the 2016 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup Final.

Japan’s largest football-specific venue will host the cup climax for a third straight year on Saturday, October 15.

The tournament kicks off on March 23 with a round-robin Group Stage involving 14 clubs.