Otsuka sparks Gamba to Emperor’s Cup win


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.