Japan: Kashima and Shimuzu reach Emperor’s Cup final
The semi-finals of the Emperor’s Cup, Japan’s equivalent of the FA Cup, were held today and for Kashima Antlers and Shimuzu S-Pulse the dream of lifting silverware on Saturday became one step closer to reality with wins over FC Tokyo and Gamba Osaka respectively.
Kashima Antlers had to come from behind in order to force extra-time in their semi-final match-up. Kenta Mukuhara gave FC Tokyo the lead just six minutes before the break but the Antlers restored parity midway through the second half thanks to Yuya Osako. With no further goals in normal time the game needed an extra thirty minutes and the crucial moment came in the last minute of the match when Shinzo Koroki struck to give Kashima a place in the final in the most dramatic of circumstances.
In the other semi-final Shimuzu S-Pulse had a much easier time of it defeating Gamba Osaka 3-0 at home to claim their place in the final. Norwegian striker Frode Johnsen scored a brace and Akihiro Hyodo scored the other as Shimuzu wrapped the scoring up by the hour mark to comfortably secure their passage into Japan’s showpiece knockout final which will take place in Tokyo’s National Stadium on Saturday.