CHIBA – Consadole Sapporo goalkeeper Yuya Sato went from villain to hero as the second-division side beat Albirex Niigata 8-7 in a nail-biting penalty shootout Saturday to book a place in the quarterfinals of the Emperor’s Cup.
A momentary lapse of concentration from Sato allowed first-division Niigata an equalizer six minutes from the end of normal time and neither team was able to find a winner in extra time as the game finished 2-2 at Fukuda Denshi Arena.
But after the shootout went to sudden death, Hiroyuki Nishijima made it 8-7 and Sato got revenge on Kisho Yano after his earlier embarrassment, diving to his left to block the striker’s spot kick.
Sapporo, who beat Nabisco Cup holders JEF United Chiba here in the last round, is the only non-first division side left in the competition.
Niigata took the lead in the 14th minute through Edmilson when the Brazilian got in front of a flapping Sato to head home a left-wing corner.
Makoto Sunakawa saw a deflected shot come back off the crossbar but put Sapporo on level terms when he capitalized on a defensive mix to fire home in the 35th minute.
The 29-year-old former Kashiwa Reysol midfielder looked to have done enough to put Sapporo in the last eight by netting his second of the match with a half-volley seven minutes after the break, only for Sato’s blunder to hand Niigata a lifeline.
Sato dropped the ball and prepared to launch a goal kick but Yano was lurking behind and sneaked up to steal the ball and turn to roll into an empty net.
In other matches, Josimar struck twice as Ventforet Kofu pulled off a surprise 5-2 win over J. League runnerup Kawasaki Frontale while Kashima Antlers beat 10-man Nagoya Grampus Eight 2-1 courtesy of a 26th-minute winner from Masaki Chugo.
Magno Alves and Shinichi Terada both scored in extra time in Gamba Osaka’s 4-2 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima while last year’s beaten finalist, Shimizu S-Pulse, also needed extra time to see off FC Tokyo 3-2 thanks to Cho Jae Jin’s 112th-minute strike.
World Cup midfielder Takashi Fukunishi scored with Jubilo Iwata’s only shot of the match but it was all that was needed to knock out Omiya Ardija after a 1-0 win at Yamaha Stadium while Ryuji Kawai struck the decisive spot kick as Yokohama F Marinos beat Oita Trinita 4-2 on penalties.
Kawakatsu to quit
FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Ryoichi Kawakatsu said he will resign as manager of Avispa Fukuoka after Saturday’s playoff draw against Vissel Kobe saw the team relegated to the J. League second division.
The game finished 1-1 on aggregate following a 0-0 draw in the first leg in midweek, but Kobe won on the away goals rule and replace Fukuoka in the first division.
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