SAPPORO – Consadole Sapporo took a step toward a berth in next year’s AFC Champions League on Sunday when Koji Miyoshi’s 74th-minute goal lifted the club to a 1-0 win over Vegalta Sendai.
With neither team able to make anything of their opportunities, Miyoshi capitalized on a lapse by defender Ko Itakura. Consadole forward Jay Bothroyd headed a goal kick forward, with Itakura poised to secure the second ball so he could pass it back to his keeper.
The Vegalta defender, however, failed to take control. He let the ball bounce high, Miyoshi barged past him and fired with his second touch past American-Japanese keeper Daniel Schmidt.
“Everyone is on the lookout for mistakes by an opponent, but what you do to score is down to you,” Miyoshi said.
Two minutes later, Consadole keeper Gu Sung-yun helped seal the win by blocking a Ramon Lopes penalty.
The result lifted Consadole to third in the league on 51 points with three games remaining. The league’s second- and third-place teams will earn a spot in ACL qualifying.
“We are focused on getting the three points every game,” Miyoshi said. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what the other teams do. As long as we keep getting our three points, the ACL spot will take care of itself.”
At the bottom of the table, Riki Harakawa’s 60th-minute goal was enough for Sagan Tosu to climb out of the drop zone with a 1-0 home win in their Kyushu derby encounter against last-place V-Varen Nagasaki.
Sagan now has 36 points, two more than Nagoya Grampus, which is 16th in the J. League’s 18-team first division. Grampus, however, has one game in hand, which it will play at Cerezo Osaka on Tuesday.