Soccer / J. League

Reysol clinches return to top flight

Kyodo, Staff Report

Kashiwa Reysol proved for the third time they are a hard team to keep down after clinching the J. League’s second-division championship and earning promotion to J1 on Saturday.

Reysol, relegated to the J2 this year, booked their first division return in one season, just as they had in 2006 and 2010. Reysol sealed the deal with a 3-0 win at Machida Zelvia on a brace by Brazilian striker Cristiano and a second-minute opener by Yusuke Segawa.

The last time Reysol won J2, the Chiba Prefecture side followed it by winning the J. League championship in 2011 in a season thrown into turmoil by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Kashiwa went on to win the 2012 Emperor’s Cup and 2013 J. League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup in addition to reaching the semifinals of the 2013 Asian Champions League.

Yokohama FC moved closer toward earning a stint in J1 with a 1-0 victory at Fagiano Okayama. They were formed by Yokohama Flugels fans after their team was absorbed by rival side Yokohama Marinos at the end of the 1998 season.

Yokohama FC are second, two points ahead of third-place Omiya Ardija, and can clinch promotion with a win next week at home against Ehime.

The top two J2 teams earn automatic promotion to the top flight, while those finishing third to sixth will compete to face the J1’s 16th-place team in a promotion-relegation playoff.

After Ardija, Montedio Yamagata (70 points), Ventforet Kofu (68) and Kyoto Sanga (68) occupy the remaining playoff-eligible spots.