Shonan Bellmare secures J1 promotion


Shonan Bellmare clinched their return to the J-League’s first division on Sunday, the final day of the J2 season, with a 3-0 victory at Machida Zelvia.

Bellmare clinched the last of two automatic promotions by finishing second in the J2. Ventforet Kofu had already won the league and guaranteed their return to the top flight. Bellmare started the day third, one point behind Kyoto Sanga, who were held to a 0-0 draw at home against Ventforet.

Shonan return to the J1 for the first time since they were relegated in 2010. Ventforet played last season in the J1.

Sanga finished third and will be the top seed in a four-team playoff to decide the final club in next year’s first division. Joining them in the playoffs are fourth-placed Yokohama FC, who defeated FC Gifu 3-2, fifth-placed JEF United Chiba, who won 3-0 away at Tokushima Vortis. The last spot in the playoffs went to Oita Trinita, who drew 0-0 at Matsumoto Yamaga.

On Nov. 18, Sanga will take on Trinita, while Yokohama FC will play JEF. The winners of those matches will then have a playoff for a spot in the first division.

Machida Zelvia finished their first season in the J-League under manager Osvaldo Ardiles in last place. Zelvia will be relegated should Japan Football League champion V-Varen Nagasaki meet requirements for entry into the J-League.