OITA - Yuki Kobayashi scored an injury-time winner as Jubilo Iwata beat Oita Trinita 2-1 to clinch automatic promotion to the J. League first division on Sunday.
Jubilo, who will be back in the top flight in 2016 after a one-year absence, finished second in J2 with 82 points, ahead of Avispa Fukuoka only by a goal difference of three. With Fukuoka defeating FC Gifu 4-1, Iwata had to win in order to seal their return to J1 on the final day of the J2 season.
Jubilo looked doomed and bound for the promotion playoffs after Paulinho equalized for Trinita in the 90th minute. But immediately after the restart, Kobayashi put the visitors back up for good with an effort off the hand of Yohei Takeda and Iwata held on for the rest of five minutes of stoppage time.
“Really sorry to have kept the fans on their toes all year, even to this very last day,” Kobayashi said. “But I, as well as the rest of the team, was always confident we could win and that’s the difference between last year and this year.”
Fukuoka heads to the playoffs starting on Nov. 29, when it hosts sixth-place V-Varen Nagasaki, and Cerezo Osaka, in fourth, faces fifth-place Ehime FC at home.
The winners clash in a one-off at Osaka’s Yanmar Stadium Nagai on Dec. 6.