KOBE – Takuya Iwanami scored the winning spot kick as Vissel Kobe beat holders Kashima Antlers 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 extra-time draw in the quarterfinals of the Emperor’s Cup on Wednesday night.
Naoyuki Fujita gave Kobe a 4-3 lead in the shootout and although Gen Shoji converted to give Antlers hope, Iwanami made no mistake to send Kobe into the last four.
Kashima was seconds away from victory in the 90 minutes of regulation after Shoji had given Antlers the lead in the 63rd minute. Kim punched Yasushi Endo’s corner clear but Mitsuo Ogasawara floated the ball back into the box and Shoji controlled it before prodding home through Kim’s legs.
Substitute Mike Havenaar leveled for Kobe in the fourth minute of stoppage time, turning a low cross from German World Cup winner Lukas Podolski in with a cheeky back heel to send the game into extra time.
Kobe will face Cerezo Osaka in the semifinals on Dec. 23. Cerezo beat relegation-threatened Omiya Ardija 2-0 thanks to goals from Takaki Fukumitsu and Ryuji Sawakami at Kincho Stadium.
Yokohama F. Marinos reached the semis for the second year in a row, edging Jubilo Iwata 1-0 through an own goal from Shohei Takahashi.
Marinos will face Kashiwa Reysol, who won 1-0 away to last year’s beaten finalists Kawasaki Frontale courtesy of a superb strike from Cristiano.
The final will take place at Saitama Stadium on New Year’s Day.
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