Soccer / J. League

Matsumoto Yamaga capture J2 title, earn promotion back to top flight

Kyodo

Matsumoto Yamaga wrapped up the J. League second-division championship Saturday with a 0-0 draw at home against Tokushima Vortis, winning promotion back to the top flight in the process.

The Nagano Prefecture club finished the 42-game J2 season with 77 points, one clear of second-place Oita Trinita, who will also return to J1 after ending their campaign with a 1-1 draw away to Montedio Yamagata.

Yamaga, managed by Yasuharu Sorimachi, will play in the first division for just the second time next season. Their first J1 stint ended with relegation after a single season in 2015.

Trinita, Yokohama FC and Machida Zelvia all finished on 76 points. But Trinita clinched automatic promotion ahead of Yokohama FC on goal difference, while Machida Zelvia was ineligible for promotion after failing to obtain a J1 license.

Third-place Yokohama FC will contest a playoff series for promotion along with fifth-place Omiya Ardija and sixth-place Tokyo Verdy.

Ardija will play Verdy in the opening round of the playoffs on Nov. 25, with the victor to face Yokohama FC on Dec. 2.

Under a new format introduced this season, the winner of that match will progress to a final playoff battle on Dec. 8 against the 16th-place J1 side for a berth in the first division next year.