Japan: Jubilo Iwata come back to reach J-League Cup final
Having suffered a 1-0 home defeat in the semi-final first leg just over a week ago Jubilo Iwata turned it around in the second leg against Kawasaki Frontale. The visitors managed a 3-1 second leg victory in order to progress 3-2 on aggregate. In the other second leg tie Sanfreece Hiroshima held out against Shimuzu S-Pulse following a 1-1 draw. Sanfreece won the first leg 1-0 and that proved to be the difference between the two sides overall.
Jubilo Iwata turned it around in their second leg tie but left it very late to claim ultimate victory against Kawasaki Frontale. Kentaro Ohi scored the opening goal for Jubilo after 35 minutes rising highest to head home a Sho Naruoka corner but the lead would last only three minutes when Brazilian forward Juninho pounced to equalize on the night and put Frontale back in front overall. As time went on Jubilo’s chances of progression seemed to be evaporating but they finally got back on track in the 78th minute when Ryohei Yamazaki made it 2-1 on the night and level on aggregate to set up a grandstand finish. The crucial opportunity came with just two minutes of normal time remaining when Sho Naruoka got the winning goal to send the thousands of visiting Jubilo fans into jubilation. Can they win their second J-League Cup twelve years after their first triumph in the competition?
Sanfreece Hiroshima hope that they can spoil things for Jubilo Iwata and claim a maiden triumph in their first final following a 2-1 aggregate win over Shimuzu S-Pulse. Sanfreece scraped a 1-0 win in the first leg and the aggregate lead was doubled midway through the second half after Satoru Yamagishi knocked the ball home in the 65th minute. The home side pulled one back through Shinji Ono with two minutes to play but it proved to be too little too late for Shimuzu whose dreams of a second J-League Cup title were over.
The final between Jubilo Iwata and Sanfreece Hiroshima will be played at the National Stadium in Tokyo with a date in early November most likely but the date has yet to be decided.