Kanazaki downs brave Vissel in Antlers’ Nabisco Cup march
Clinical edge was the difference for Kashima Antlers as a brace from Mu Kanazaki lifted them to a 4-1 win over Vissel Kobe in the second leg of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup semi-final.
Antlers’ landslide win settled their affair 6-2 on aggregate and sees them progress to the final against holders Gamba Osaka, although the scoreline failed to disguise a valiant display from visiting Vissel on Sunday.
Atsutaka Nakamura fired home from inside the box in the 16th minute to add to the 2-1 advantage Masatada Ishii’s men took into their home tie, but Asahi Masuyama soon turned his man to lay the ball on a plate for Kazuma Watanabe to net Vissel’s temporary equaliser.
From there, the visitors applied constant pressure but still could not turn the tide despite proving a genuine menace to their hosts’ rearguard for the remainder of the game.
Nelsinho’s men were eventually made to pay when Kanazaki fired home Antlers’ second of the afternoon from a rebound, after Shuhei Akasaki saw his initial effort parried by Kenta Tokushige.
Kanazaki again found himself with the goal at his mercy when he latched onto a hashed Vissel clearance, the 26-year-old’s effort deflected by the last man on the line into the net.
Resistance had mostly crumbled by the time Caio burst into the box, beating two players before lashing his shot into the bottom right corner and leave nothing to chance.
Antlers now have the chance to add a record sixth Nabisco Cup to their trophy haul, when they meet Gamba in the final at Saitama Stadium at the end of October.
Vissel woes deepen as Antlers seal Nabisco Cup win
Kazuya Yamamura and Shuhei Akasaki struck to lift Kashima Antlers to a 2-1 win at Vissel Kobe in the first leg of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
Matasada Ishii’s men seized the initiative in the opening stages and always looked in control against their hosts, who were on a torrid run of form entering the fixture and had just lost to the same opponents in their league clash last Saturday.
Antlers’ early pressure paid off when Yamamura opened the scoring in the 21st minute, firing his daisy-cutter through a crowd of players in the box.
The visitors did endure a scare when Hitoshi Sogahata dropped a ball at Leandro’s feet shortly afterwards, but the Brazilian could only turn against the post.
Instead, their nerves eased when Akasaki produced a tidy finish to double his side’s lead, although he was later guilty of giving away the ball in the action that led up to Vissel’s consolation goal.
Half-time substitute Michihiro Yasuda made the impact Nelsinho desired, robbing the forward before crossing for Takuya Iwanami to net with a towering header.
However, there would be no comeback for Vissel, who next travel to Kashima Stadium for the second leg on Sunday needing to win by at least two clear goals if they are to progress to the final.
Rafael Silva fires Albirex on verge of fulfilling Nabisco Cup final dream
Rafael Silva netted the winner in Albirex Niigata’s 2-1 win over Gamba Osaka in Wednesday’s first leg of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup semi-final - a fixture that saw both sides finish with 10 men.
Albirex are targeting their first ever appearance in the final of the competition, and immediately showed their ambitions as Ryohei Yamazaki went on a brilliant run from the halfway line, beating two players before seeing his low shot parried by Yosuke Fujigaya.
It was opposite number Tatsuya Morita’s turn to produce a smart stop on Takahiro Futagawa’s free-kick, but the Albirex custodian could do little to prevent Kotaro Omori’s perfect header from going in in the 36th minute.
The hosts immediately went level thanks to Kosuke Yamamoto’s excellent display of footwork inside the Gamba box, the winger turning his man before lashing in his team’s equaliser.
Yamazaki’s pace and directness continued to threaten Gamba’s rearguard, and Yamamoto almost capitalised on a free-kick his team-mate had earned when Leo Silva shot took a deflection of him in the wall, before cannoning off the bar.
The midfielder’s good work was undone when he was sent off after being caught deliberately hacking at Shu Kurata’s ankle.
But just when Albirex would have been content hanging on for the draw, Rafael Silva - who had endured terrible luck with injuries to this point - went through on goal before side-footing home the winner to spark wild celebrations from the home team’s bench.
Masaaki Yanagishita’s men will travel to Saitama Stadium on Saturday hoping to fulfill their dreams of progressing to their maiden Nabisco Cup final against the holders, who must do without Kim Jung-ya after he was expelled for his second booking on Wednesday.
Nabisco Cup trophy on display at Denka Big Swan Stadium
The J.League on Monday announced that the 2015 Yamazaki Nabisco Cup trophy will be on display at the first leg of the semi-final between Albirex Niigata and Gamba Osaka.
The cup will be displayed inside Denka Big Swan Stadium, at the first-level concourse of‘E’Stand, between 16:30 and 19:00 local time on Wednesday.
Albirex will seek to make the most of their maiden semi-final appearance in the tournament in front of their own fans.
Defending champions Gamba are looking to retain their title and win it for the third time in the process, but enter the fixture last having suffered a 5-3 loss at Kawasaki Frontale in the league.
Nabisco Cup final date set for October 31
The J.League on Friday confirmed the kick-off time and broadcasting details for the upcoming 2015 J.League Yamasaki Nabisco Cup Final.
The showdown is to kick off at 13:05 on October 31 at Saitama Stadium, and will be aired Live on national broadcaster Fuji Television within Japan.
The semi-finals will take place on October 7 and 11, with Albirex Niigata taking on Gamba Osaka and Vissel Kobe facing Kashima Antlers.
Gamba have an opportunity to defend the trophy they lifted on the way to completing an historic domestic Treble last term.
Antlers and Gamba exploit goalkeeping woes to go through in Nabisco Cup
Mu Kanazaki netted a brace as Kashima Antlers exploited FC Tokyo’s goalkeeping vulnerabilities, winning 3-0 in the second leg of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup quarter-finals to progress.
Both sides headed into the tie at Kashima Stadium with the score finely poised at 2-2 from the first leg, and the hosts started out bristling with intent with the crowd behind them.
And it took only six minutes for Kanazaki to break the deadlock and put Masatada Ishii’s men into the lead, his shot straight at Tatsuya Enomoto bizarrely turned into Tokyo’s net by the custodian.
Antlers were in complete control from that point, and Kanazaki added another on the hour mark with another low shot from distance that Enomoto again should have dealt better with.
The night would get worse for the back-up keeper, who is minding the post in Shuichi Gonda’s absence, as Yasushi Endo pinged an unstoppable volley into the top corner of the net to seal emphatic passage to the semi-finals for Antlers.
Goalkeeping woes continued for Nagoya Grampus as drew 2-2 with Gamba Osaka in extra time and then lost their penalty shootout 10-9 to Gamba Osaka when custodian Yoshinori Takagi missed his spot-kick.
The tie began with the aggregate score at 1-1 after the first-leg, and Ryunosuke Noda burst through a crowd of Gamba bodies to put Grampus in the lead as early as the seventh minute, giving them the advantage.
But Hiroyuki Abe netted an equaliser for Gamba - who were always in the tie - before half time, with his goal eventually forcing it to extra time.
Kenta Hasegawa’s outfit then went into the lead in the via Keisuke Iwashita, but it was the hosts’ turn to now provide a response, as Marcus Tulio Tanaka arrived at the far post to head in Yoshizumi Ogawa’s delivery.
With the score deadlocked, it went down to penalties and substitute Grampus keeper Takagi blasted his kick against the bar, before his counterpart Yosuke Fujigaya subsequently scored the winner to send Gamba to the semi-finals.
There, the cup holders will face Albirex Niigata, who beat Urawa Reds by an aggregate score of 5-3.
Comebacks insufficient for Reds and Reysol in Nabisco Cup
There was terrific drama as Vissel Kobe progressed to the semi-finals of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup despite losing 3-2 to Kashiwa Reysol at home in the second leg of the quarter-finals on Sunday.
Despite succumbing to a 2-0 loss at Kashiwa Stadium in the first leg, Reysol were always capable of mounting a comeback and they proved it as they surged into a two-goal lead of their own within half an hour.
Ederson first escaped the attention of his marker to head in a cross from deep before Masato Kudo then turned in his own header, putting both teams level on aggregate.
Leandro then replied for Nelsinho’s Vissel, latching on to Kazuma Watanabe’s slide-rule pass to fire home, but Reysol would soon restore a two-goal advantage that would have taken them to the next stage on away goals.
That came in the second half when Cristiano knocked down for Ederson to nod in his second on the night, putting the visitors back in the driver’s seat.
But Ryota Morioka had other plans, firing in a free-kick that went in after taking a huge deflection off Reysol’s wall to gift Nelsinho a 4-3 aggregate win over his former employers, and set up a semi-final meeting for Vissel with Kashima Antlers.
Meanwhile, Yuki Abe was on hand with a brace as Urawa Reds defeated Albirex 3-0 in their second leg fixture, but that was not enough to see them progress to the semis.
The home side knew the magnitude of overturning a 5-0 deficit from the first leg, but still set out to complete the task with an energetic display in the first period.
However, they were unable to find the breakthrough as the minutes ticked on, and it was only after the break that Abe recorded his and the Reds’ first of the night as his attempted backheel flick from a corner took a deflection in.
The goal still galvanised Mihailo Petrovic’s side and Tadanari Lee turned in Tomoya Ugajin’s cross just three minutes later to get the Saitama Stadium crowd in full voice and believing a comeback was on the cards.
It was in the 70th minute that Abe completed his brace, tucking home from the penalty spot, but it was ultimately not to be as Albirex secured passage to the semi-finals with a 5-3 win on aggregate.
Gamba scrape to lucky cup draw against plucky Grampus
Yamazaki Nabisco Cup holders Gamba Osaka were held to a nervy 1-1 draw by Nagoya Grampus in the quarter-finals of the tournament on Wednesday, surviving a scare late on.
Lins earned a rare start with Takashi Usami and Patric out of the side, and the Brazilian made an immediate impact when he assisted Takahiro Futagawa for the opener inside six minutes.
But Gamba’s bright start soon fizzled out and Grampus found themselves back level via Ryunosuke Noda’s 76th-minute header from Kisho Yano’s delivery.
The hosts nearly fumbled their lead later when Yano had the chance to hand the visitors a valuable first-leg advantage, but his shot from a tight angle skimmed the woodwork.
Kim Jung-ya was also spared the blushes by his own post when his touch came back off it, and Gamba will consider themselves lucky as they make their way to Paloma Mizuho Stadium for the return leg on Sunday with the score still finely poised.
At Ajinomoto Stadium, Yasushi Endo’s magnificent left-footed strike was unable to secure victory for Kashima Antlers, their clash with FC Tokyo ending 2-2 with honours even.
It was the capital outfit who got off to a better start as Hiroki Kawano looped a header past a helpless Hitoshi Sagahata in a first half that also had goals disallowed for either side.
Antlers responded right after the break with Shuhei Akasaki stab home from point-blank range before Endo saw his long-range strike go in off the post.
But they were denied the crucial first-leg advantage when Shoya Nakajima tucked away a precise first-time effort with two minutes left on the clock, leaving the encounter to be decided at Saitama Stadium this Saturday.
Upsets leave Reds and Reysol on verge of bowing out of Nabisco Cup
Albirex Niigata inflicted on Urawa Reds their second major defeat in a row, defeating them 5-0 in the first leg of the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday to ensure they are all but out.
The MEIJI YASUDA J1 League first stage winners suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Shunsuke Nakamura’s Yokohama F.Marinos at the weekend and were seeking to bounce back here, though the majority of first-team players are on international duty.
However, despite a bright start, Mihailo Petrovic’s understrength side were caught out when a quick free-kick from deep in the Albirex half found Ryohei Yamazaki right before the half-time whistle, the striker firing home.
The floodgates duly opened in the second half as Michael James put the hosts 2-0 up, before Hiroshi Ibusuki netted a brace - his second goal a beautiful solo effort as he shrugged off the attentions of Ryota Moriwaki.
Albirex fittingly completed the rout through Rafael Silva, who celebrated his return to action following an injury lay-off by putting them in a commanding position ahead of Sunday’s second leg with the fifth goal.
The Reds were not the only ones who suffered an upset this round, as Kashiwa Reysol succumbed 2-0 at home to former coach Nelsinho’s side Vissel Kobe.
Tatsuma Yoshida watched as his Reysol missed a hatful of chances to open the scoring, with Vissel surviving seeing a sixth-minute header come off the bar.
The visitors held on till after the hour mark, when they burst forwards themselves and netted through Daisuke Ishizu.
Kazuma Watanabe then netted an 85th-minute clincher to put Vissel in the driving seat ahead of the return fixture at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium this weekend.