Midfielder Shinji Murai scored twice as JEF United Ichihara crushed Kawasaki Frontale 5-0 on an upset-free day in the fourth round of the Emperor’s Cup on Saturday.

Brazilian midfielder Cardoso Sandro set Ichihara on its way with the opener in the sixth minute before Murai added a second two minutes later and then scored his second to kill the game off shortly before halftime.

Takenori Hayashi made it four in the 66th minute and Masataka Sakamoto completed the rout a minute from time.

Elsewhere, Japan striker Tatsuhiko Kubo found the target as J. League champion Yokohama F. Marinos, who scraped into the fourth round after beating Ichiritsu Funabashi High School on penalties, advanced to Tuesday’s quarterfinals by beating newly promoted Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1.

Last year’s finalists Kashima Antlers won 3-2 at home to Kashiwa Reysol and will meet Yokohama in the last eight.

Ichihara will face Shimizu S-Pulse, which defeated second division Shonan Bellmare 2-1, in Tottori Prefecture.

In other games, Jubilo Iwata trounced Albirex Niigata 4-0, Vissel Kobe beat FC Tokyo 5-4 on penalties, and Tokyo Verdy downed Nagoya Grampus Eight 1-0, while in a local derby Cerezo Osaka edged Gamba Osaka 3-2.

The semifinals will be played next Saturday with the final on New Year’s Day at Tokyo’s National Stadium.

Vissel’s top choice

KOBE (Kyodo) J. League first division side Vissel Kobe said Saturday that Czech Van Hasek is its top candidate to take over as coach for next season.

According to team official Masakazu Kawai, Vissel has already met with Hasek, 40, on several occasions to discuss the particulars of a contract and have received positive feedback via Hasek’s agent to close a deal.

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