FC Tokyo knocks Vegalta Sendai out of Nabisco Cup


FC Tokyo advanced to the semifinals of the Nabisco Cup on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over J. League leaders Vegalta Sendai, while Shimizu S-Pulse scored a last-gasp winner in a 4-3 thriller at Nagoya to go through on the away-goals rule.

With the first leg having ended 2-2, the opening half at Ajinomoto Stadium was a tight affair, neither side giving the other much space. Naohiro Ishikawa could have put the hosts ahead after midfielder Tatsuya Yazawa’s surging dribble and layoff in the 15th minute, but blasted over the bar instead.

Vegalta’s Yoshiaki Ota had a free header in the 26th minute from Ryang Yong Gi’s cross but put it way off target, and Ishikawa then struck the crossbar with a cracking volley three minutes later.

The second half was more frantic, with goalmouth scrambles at each end, but it was not until the 81st minute that the deadlock was broken, Ishikawa finding the target this time with a clever lob over Takuto Hayashi after Takuji Yonemoto’s superb through ball.

Sendai then piled upfield in search of a goal but left space at the back, and in the 3rd minute of time added on Kazuma Watanabe broke free with just Hayashi to beat, which he did, and tucked home to put the game to bed.

Tokyo will meet S-Pulse in the semifinals after Toshiyuki Takagi scored an injury time winner at Nagoya.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Shimizu leveled the tie three minutes before the interval through Brazilian striker Alex. Ten minutes after the break Marcus Tulio Tanaka gave Nagoya Grampus the advantage again, only for Jymmy Franca to put S-Pulse ahead in the 69th minute.

A brace within 10 minutes from Jungo Fujimoto then put Nagoya back in the driving seat with only three minutes remaining. But Shimizu substitute Yuji Senuma scored in the 88th minute, before Takagi delivered the sucker punch in the dying seconds to send the hosts tumbling out.

The other semifinal will pitch Kashima against Kashiwa. The Antlers strolled to a 3-0 away win over Cerezo Osaka, with goals from Dutra, Shinzo Koroki and Gaku Shibasaki for a 5-1 aggregate victory, while Reysol, carrying a comfortable 3-1 lead from the first leg, beat Gamba Osaka 2-1 at home courtesy of strikes from Leandro Domingues and Masato Kudo.

The semifinals will be played over two legs on Sept. 5 and Oct. 13.