Soccer / J. League

Ventforet escape with victory over Juntendo University

Kyodo

J. League first-division side Ventforet Kofu held on to beat plucky Juntendo University 3-2 at home and book their place in the third round of the Emperor’s Cup on Saturday.

Takuma Abe scored what proved to be the decider by giving Kofu a 3-1 lead in the 57th minute, but the Yamanashi club was made to work for the win as Juntendo pulled one back through Masahiko Sugita and went close to forcing extra time in the dying stages.

Yuki Hashizume took a long pass from the left and drilled home at the edge of the area to put Kofu in front after seven minutes and Kazunari Hosaka doubled the advantage six minutes later with a crisp finish.

Teppei Harada latched onto a through ball into the box and steered inside the post to pull one back for Juntendo on 27 minutes, but Kofu restored its two-goal cushion when Katsuya Ishihara dummied a pass from Daiki Matsumoto, allowing Abe to run clean through and slip the ball through the legs of Juntendo goalkeeper Masaki Imagawa.

“Katsu-san (Ishihara) showed great movement (with the dummy). I knew he would do that and I put the ball in just the way aimed to,” said Abe.

Sugita made it 3-2 in the 79th minute with a superb long-range strike that went in off the underside of the crossbar and Juntendo went desperately close to equalizing moments from time, with Shoma Matsushima inches away from getting his head on the end of Harada’s left-wing cross.

“We knew it would be a difficult game against a university team and for now we are just glad with the win,” Abe said.

In other games involving J1 teams, Sanfrecce Hiroshima were the big winners of the day, Takuma Asano and Gakuto Notsuda both hitting doubles as the two-time J. League champions thumped Hiroshima University of Economics 8-0, while Hiroyuki Taniguchi’s brace sealed a 4-0 win for Sagan Tosu against Verspah Oita.

Takumi Yamada wrapped up a 3-1 win for Montedio Yamagata against Kamatamare Sanuki. Former Japan international Yoshito Okubo completed the scoring in Kawasaki’s 3-0 win over Matsue City and Yoshihito Fujita scored twice as Shonan Bellmare edged out Yokohama’s Toin Gakuen 4-3.

Obina hit the winner in Matsumoto Yamaga’s 2-1 defeat of Zweigen Kanazawa.

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