Soccer / J. League

Reds earn automatic qualification for Asian Champions League


Urawa Reds have clinched their automatic qualification for next season’s Asian Champions League after advancing to the Emperor’s Cup final on Tuesday, the Japan Football Association announced.

The J. League championship winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima and runners-up Gamba Osaka had already booked the two automatic spots as the league’s top two finishers.

The other automatic berth was to go to the Emperor’s Cup winners. But with Urawa facing already-qualified Gamba on New Year’s Day and finishing third in the league, Urawa also won qualification.

It left FC Tokyo, fourth in the J. League’s overall standings, taking the fourth berth for Japanese teams and will play in the ACL playoff on Feb. 9, against either Chonburi (Thailand) or Yangon United (Myanmar) for a place in the ACL group stage.