OSAKA – Shohei Otsuka scored the winner three minutes from time as holders Gamba Osaka marched on to the last 16 of the Emperor’s Cup with a 3-2 victory over J2 side Tochigi SC on Saturday.
Manager Akira Nishino had to have heaved a huge sigh of relief after the victory as Gamba allowed Tochigi, the 11th-place team in the J. League second division, to open up a 2-0 halftime lead at the Expo Stadium through goals by Kazumasa Takagi and Takayuki Funayama.
Elsewhere on the afternoon, J1 leaders Nagoya Grampus stayed on course for a domestic double as Dragan Stojkovic’s side edged Consadole Sapporo 2-1 at home.
Kyoto Sanga became the first J1 casualty of the third round, losing 4-0 to JEF United Chiba as Neto scored a hat-trick for the former first-division club.
Three-time J. League champions Kashima Antlers moved on after a 2-1 home win against Roasso Kumamoto. Albirex beat the Japan Football League’s Machida Zelvia 2-1 at Niigata, while Yokohama F. Marinos knocked out Sagan Tosu with a 2-1 home victory.
Adriano’s brace sparked a 3-1 win at Sony Sendai for Cerezo Osaka, and Montedio Yamagata punished Shonan Bellmare, the last-place team in the top flight, 3-1.