Japan: Nagoya out of Emperor’s Cup
The 2010 J-League champions Nagoya Grampus Eight are out of this year’s Emperor’s Cup. The main knockout tournament in Japanese football plays its final three rounds this week and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the quarter-finals which were played today.
The Emperor’s Cup grants a berth to the 2011 AFC Champions League for the winner so there was a lot at stake in each of today’s last eight showdowns. Champions Nagoya Grampus Eight’s chances of doing a league and cup double were dashed by Kashima Antlers, who are guaranteed the fourth place to Asia’s top club competition if this year’s Emperor’s Cup winners have already qualified via the league. Shinzo Koroki gave Kashima the lead after just seven minutes and it took a long time for Nagoya to restore parity. The equalizer came in the 76th minute thanks to Yoshizumi Ogawa but the joy was short-lived as the Antlers scored the winning goal just two minutes later through Yuya Osako.
Kashima Antlers’ reward for progressing is a semi-final date with FC Tokyo who eventually knocked out Avispa Fukuoka after a pulsating 120 minutes of football. Avispa took the lead when Tetsuya Okubo scored on 13 minutes and the home side were preparing to celebrate progression tothe final four until FC Tokyo’s Naohiro Ishikawa took the game into extra-time with an equalizing goal three minutes into second half stoppage time. Suto Hirayama gave the capital side the lead on 94 minutes and when Ishikawa got his second four minutes later all seemed lost for the home side. Avispa reduced the deficit with two minutes of extra-time remaining, Daiki Niwa ensuring a tense finish but the game finished at 3-2.
The other semi-final will see Gamba Osaka take on Shimuzu S-Pulse. The former ensured their passage with a 2-1 win over Urawa Red Diamonds in extra-time. Takashi Usami was the man whose goal in the 103rd minute broke the hearts of Urawa supporters gifting his team a 2-1 win following strikes from Yasuhito Endō (Osaka) and Tomoya Ugajin (Urawa) in normal time. The final match of the last eight stage went all the way to a penalty shoot-out as Shimuzu S-Pulse and Montedio Yamagata couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes of football. Yūzō Tashiro gave Yamagata the lead on 107 minutes only to see Australian defender Eddy Bosnar restore parity for Shimuzu two minutes later. Montedio Yamagata missed one spot kick in the subsequent shoot-out whilst Shimuzu had a 100% success rate from twelve yeards to ensure that they advance to the next stage.
The semi-finals will be played on Wednesday, December 29th.