With less than 20 minutes left on the clock and a 3-0 lead at the inaugural WE League Cup final, Tokyo Verdy Beleza players couldn’t be blamed for feeling like they had one hand on the championship trophy.

That memo didn’t appear to have reached Urawa Reds Ladies, who equalized the game 3-3 with an inspired burst of attacking before winning a penalty shootout 4-2 to seal a domestic cup double at Ajinomoto Field Nishigaoka in northern Tokyo.

The exciting climax to the first edition of the tournament — established to give the league’s 11 clubs more competitive action in addition to the 22-game season — played out in front of 3,546 fans, an improvement on the pandemic-restricted crowd of 2,427 that attended the opening-round match of the 2021-22 campaign between the two teams at the same venue.