SENDAI – Hiroaki Okuno struck twice in the second half as Vegalta Sendai stunned J. League champions Kashima Antlers 3-1 in the first leg of the Levain Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Yoshihiro Nakano broke the deadlock on the hour for Sendai, which is currently 12th in the league. Okuno made it 2-0 four minutes later and although Shoma Doi pulled one back in the 75th minute for the visitors, Okuno reestablished Vegalta’s two-goal advantage five minutes to time.
In other league cup quarterfinal action, holders Urawa Reds drew 0-0 away to Cerezo Osaka, while Akihiro Ienaga’s second-half brace sent Kawasaki Frontale on their way past FC Tokyo 2-0 at home.
Lukas Podolski and Vissel fought to a goalless draw with Gamba Osaka in Kobe.
The second legs are set for Sunday. The semifinals are in October with the final set for November.
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