J. League champion Jubilo Iwata set up a Nabisco Cup semifinal showdown with holders Kashima Antlers after easing past Yokohama F. Marinos 3-0 at home in the second leg of the quarterfinals on Wednesday evening.
Iwata went through 4-0 on aggregate while Kashima, which thrashed Nagoya Grampus Eight 5-1 at home in the first leg, eased through after veteran defender Naoki Soma scored the only goal of the return match at Mizuho Stadium three minutes after coming on as an 85th-minute substitute.
Kashima and Iwata were joined in the last four by Shimizu S-Pulse, which along with the Antlers received a bye in the quarterfinals due to their brief involvement in the Asian Champions League, and last year’s beaten finalist Urawa Reds.
Iwata held a slim 1-0 advantage after the first leg, and J. League leading scorer Rodrigo Gral gave the home side a two-goal cushion when he fired home a free-kick from 18 meters in the 57th minute.
Ryoichi Maeda doubled the lead with a header after 70 minutes before substitute Yasumasa Nishino, who netted the winner in Yokohama two weeks ago, completed the scoring four minutes from time.
Shimizu needed a last-gasp winner from Keisuke Ota to beat Gamba Osaka 3-2 for a 4-3 aggregate victory and will meet Urawa, which went through 4-2 after Brazilian Emerson scored twice to give his side a 2-0 win at FC Tokyo.
The two-leg semifinals will be played Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 with the final scheduled for Nov. 3 at Tokyo’s National Stadium.
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