Kyoto Sanga advance to Emperor’s Cup semis


Kyoto Sanga filled out the Emperor’s Cup semifinal bracket as the J2 side continued their scalping of the J. League with a 1-0 win against Shonan Belllmare on Saturday.

In a tactical tussle between two sides coached by former national team assistants, Brazilian striker Dutra netted the only goal midway through the first half for Kyoto, which had sent holders Kashima Antlers packing in the previous round.

Sanga, who will face J1 heavyweights Yokohama F Marinos in Thursday’s semifinal at Tokyo’s National Stadium, will be joined in the last four by J2 champions FC Tokyo.

No J2 team has yet to win the Emperor’s Cup.

“It was a tough game for us,” said Kyoto coach Takeshi Oki, who worked under Takeshi Okada as Japan reached the second round at last year’s World Cup.

“We wanted to attack more than defend, but they wouldn’t let us get forward. We’ve got Marinos next, and we’ll do everything to try to beat them.”

Tokyo edged Urawa Reds 1-0 earlier in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, to set up a date with Cerezo Osaka, who eliminated Shimizu S-Pulse 6-5 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in 120 minutes.

Naohiro Ishikawa struck the lone goal in the 20th minute for Tokyo, which reached the semis for the second straight year. Toshiyuki Takagi had equalized for Shimizu in the 104th minute to invite the shootout.

Marinos also prevailed on penalties, knocking out Nagoya Grampus 4-3 in the shootout after a goalless extra-time draw at home in Mizuho Athletics Stadium.

Dragan Stojkovic’s side, which needed penalties to edge J. League champion Kashiwa Reysol 9-8 in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, finished the year without a single title.

Grampus’ Keiji Yoshimura and Danilson missed from the spot as Marinos converted four in a row to advance.

At Todoroki Stadium in what turned out to be Yasuharu Sorimachi’s last match as Shonan manager, Dutra struck in the 40th minute with the flick of his right foot as Michitaka Akimoto headed down from a right corner.

Sorimachi’s men were unfortunate not to have scored in the 75th minute as Kyoto ‘keeper Yuichi Mizutani twice saved off his line amid a penalty-box scramble.