Gamba oust local rivals to reach Emperor’s Cup semis


Akihiro Ienaga fired an extra-time winner against his old team as relegated Gamba Osaka’s quest to salvage their season continued as they reached the Emperor’s Cup semifinals with a 2-1 win over Cerezo Osaka on Sunday.

Ienaga struck in the 112th minute at Nagai Stadium after Yoichiro Kakitani sent the match into extra time with a goal on 49 minutes. Yasuhito Endo had opened the scoring after 19 minutes.

Gamba, who will spend 2013 in J2 purgatory after finishing 17th in the J. League this season, will face Kashima Antlers in the last four on Saturday at Shizuoka’s Ecopa Stadium.

“We knew all along this was going to be a difficult game because it’s the derby,” Gamba coach Masanobu Matsunami said. “Cerezo are a young, aggressive team and to beat someone like them is really rewarding.

“In the end, it came to down who wanted it more. We had to want it more than them in extra time and the boys went out and showed they’re determined to be the last ones standing in this competition.”

Nabisco Cup champion Kashima, trying to send off manager Jorginho on a winning note, edged JEF United Chiba 1-0 away through Yuya Osako’s 64th-minute strike.

The other semifinal will pit Yokohama F. Marinos against Kashiwa Reysol at National Stadium.

Marinos eliminated Nagoya Grampus on penalties in the quarterfinals for the second straight year, this time winning 7-6 following a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes at Mizuho Athletics Stadium.

Kashiwa’s match at Omiya Ardija was far more eventful, with Masato Kudo snatching a 93rd-minute winner as Reysol came back from the dead to win 3-2.

Omiya, unbeaten over a 14-game stretch in all competitions dating back to September, had a 2-1 lead with less than 10 minutes left thanks to first-half goals from Kota Ueda and Cho Young Cheol. Masakatsu Sawa had scored for Reysol one minute to the hour.

But Tatsuya Masushima equalized in the 83rd minute before Kudo struck in stoppage time as the 2011 J. League champions went through.