Reds reach fourth round of Emperor’s Cup


Brazilian midfielder Popo conjured up another last-gasp winner as former Asian club and J. League champions Urawa Reds dodged a bullet to move into the fourth round of the Emperor’s Cup on Wednesday with a 2-1 win against non-league Kamatamare Sanuki.

Kamatamare, who play in the Japan Football League, the de facto third division, pulled off one of the upsets of the previous round with a 1-0 win over first-division Sagan Tosu.

The Kagawa-based club went close on a couple of occasions but their cup run looked over when substitute Shinya Yajima calmly swept Urawa into a 75th-minute lead in Saga Prefecture.

Toshihiro Horikawa snatched an equalizer with two minutes of normal time left, only for Kamatamare’s joy to quickly turn to despair as Popo scored a fine effort in the third minute of injury time.

“I had the chance to win it right at the death and I was able to put the ball away,” said Popo, who also scored with the last kick of the game in Urawa’s 2-1 win over Kashiwa in the J. League on Sept. 29.

“Looking back we knew it was not going to be an easy game. We couldn’t move the ball around and our opponents pressed and made it difficult for us, but I am glad we could finish them off at the end.”