Japan: Kashiwa secure 2012 Emperor’s Cup
In the first major footballing showpiece final of this year, Kashiwa Reysol secured Japanese football’s major domestic knockout competition when defeating Gamba Osaka 1-0 in the 2012 (yes, that is 2012 as opposed to 2013) Emperor’s Cup final in the National Stadium in Tokyo.
Kashiwa Reysol went into the game as favourites, the team having finished the 2012 J-League 1 season in a respectable sixth place. In contrast their opponents Gamba Osaka finished the most recent league campaign in seventeenth place in the 18 team league and were relegated into J-League 2 for next season. Despite this Gamba Osaka gave it their all and were unfortunate to have a goal chalked off for offside early in the game. Kashiwa Reysol, however, would ultimately make Osaka pay as Hirofumi Watanabe’s goal in the 35th minute proved the difference between the two teams.
Kashiwa’s victory was the third time that the club had won Japan’s version of the F.A. Cup, the other two Emperor’s Cup titles coming in the 1970s when Reysol were known as Hitachi Sports Club, whilst today’s success ensures that Kashiwa have won a major trophy for the third season in succession following their 2010 J-League 2 and 2011 J-League 1 successes. Kashiwa Reysol will also take part in the 2013 AFC Champions League as their reward for today’s cup heroics.