Kashima Antlers dominance in the competition continued with a thorough beating of Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. Consa finished with 10 men after Kim Min-Tae was sent off in the 64th minute, but by that point Kashima already led 2-0 thanks to goals from Yuta Matsumura and Ryotaro Araki. A late penalty kick by Ryohei Shirasaki gave Kashima a 3-0 victory and made it 11 goals scored to just one conceded in their first three cup matches.
Sagan Tosu are experiencing the opposite season of Kashima. While they’ve been excellent in the league, they’ve done poorly in the cup and that continued with a 1-0 loss to Avispa Fukuoka. Jordy Croux scored the lone goal in the match just eight minutes before the final whistle in a battle of two teams that entered without a point in the competition.
Kashima Antlers lead the group with nine points, while Consa follow with six, Fukuoka have three and Sagan are in search of their first.
FC Tokyo’s fine cup play continued in Oita, where Kensuke Nagai’s 50th minute goal proved to be enough to take all three points. It was a fairly clinical performance from Tokyo, who have won all their Group B matches thus far.
1-0 scorelines were the theme in Group B, as Tokushima Vortis also walked away winners with one of their own. Atsushi Kawata provided the lone goal, scoring on the half hour mark to give Vortis an impressive win away to Vissel Kobe.
Tokyo are far ahead of the pack with nine points from three matches, but the rest of the group is in a real fight. All of Trinita Oita, Vortis and Vissel are on three points, setting the stage for a mad dash in the second half of group play.
A battle between the group’s top two teams played out as expected, with Shonan Bellmare and Kashiwa Reysol going back and forth for much of the match. It looked like Reysol might sneak away with a victory after Hiroto Goya’s 28th minute goal held up into the waning minutes, but a 90th minute equalizer by Shota Kobayashi saw the teams split the points.
Yokohama FC were hoping that the cup could help them right the ship after a rough start to their league campaign and a 14th minute goal did put them in front, but it wasn’t to be. Kenyu Sugimoto brought the match level just before halftime, then delivered Urawa Reds the win with his second goal of the match after the break.
Shonan Bellmare kept their spot atop Group C with their draw, sitting on five points. Reysol and Urawa trail with four points each, while Yokohama are in last, but still within striking distance, on three points.
Shimizu S-Pulse became the first team to take points off of Yokohama F·Marinos in the cup, holding them to a scoreless draw. The match was not without chances, but neither team could break through so they had to settle for a point each.
It looked like Vegalta Sendai and Sanfrecce Hiroshima would meet the same fate, but a late goal by Chihiro Kato flipped the match to Vegalta.
Marinos still lead Group D with seven points, while S-Pulse are right behind with five. Vegalta sit third place with three points, while Sanfrecce have just one.