Shinzo Koroki’s hat trick steered Urawa Reds to their first League Cup final in three years, defeating FC Tokyo 3-1 on Sunday and 5-2 on aggregate to set up a tie against Gamba Osaka in six days’ time.
Koroki, who played for Japan as an overage player at the Rio Olympics, slotted home in the 24th and 38th minutes before converting from the spot eight minutes after the break at Urawa’s Saitama Stadium, the venue for Saturday’s final.
FC Tokyo got a goal back through Koroki’s Rio teammate Shoya Nakajima with nine minutes to go.
Last year’s runners-up Gamba, who won the title two years ago, will appear in the third straight final thanks to an away goal after securing a 1-1 draw at Yokohama F. Marinos following a scoreless draw in their first leg Wednesday.
Former Arsenal trainee Sho Ito gave Marinos the lead in the 56 minute, but veteran midfielder Yasuhito Endo leveled seven minutes later and Gamba held on to the slender advantage.