Japan: Tokyo to savour Emperor’s Cup triumph (video)
First of all I should start this piece by wishing everybody a happy new year! I’ve been enjoying myself over the Christmas holiday and have neglected the blog over the last few days so I need to rectify this, starting off with a piece regarding the new Emperor’s Cup winners in Japan.
FC Tokyo have done an unlikely league and cup double in Japan following their 4-2 triumph over Kyoto Sanga in last Sunday’s Emperor’s Cup final. FC Tokyo had already clinched the J-League second division, topping the table with an eight point advantage over nearest challengers Sagan Tosu, and then went on to win the first ever Emperor’s Cup final to be played by two teams outside of the top flight.
FC Tokyo were the obvious favourites going into the cup final but Kyoto Sanga struck first on 13 minutes thanks to Hiroki Nakayama only for the capital city club to equalize just three minutes later through Yasuyuki Konno. Tokyo then exerted their dominance on the game and went into the half-time break with a 3-1 lead courtesy of further strikes from Masato Morishige and Lucas Severino. Tokyo sealed the victory with Lucas again on the score sheet midway through the second half only for Kyoto, who finished in a respectable seventh position in the second division this term, to pull a goal back through Yuya Kubo.
The victory proved extra sweet for FC Tokyo as it was their maiden triumph in Japan’s premier knockout cup competition, having won the secondary tournament J-League Cup twice in 2004 and 2009. Not only that but FC Tokyo will get a chance to prove themselves on Asian football’s biggest stage next season as they will feature in the 2012 AFC Champions League in Group F alongside Ulsan Hyundai (South Korea), Brisbane Roar (Australia) and Beijing Guoan (China).