FC Tokyo claimed its first major trophy in nine years with a 2-1 win over Kashiwa Reysol in Monday’s Levain Cup final, bringing the 2020 J. League season to an explosive finish through goals by Brazilian attackers Leandro and Adailton, writes Dan Orlowitz.
“If you don’t win titles you can’t collect them, it’s like money,” said Tokyo manager Kenta Hasegawa, who has revitalized his side into an attacking dynamo over the last three years but had fallen short in terms of filling the club’s trophy cabinet.
Meanwhile, In the women’s game, Tokyo Verdy Beleza claimed the Empress Cup for the fourth straight year last Tuesday, beating Nadeshiko League champion Urawa Reds 4-3 following a pair of second-half goals from Japan forward Rikako Kobayashi.
In overseas news, it has been confirmed that young prodigy Takefusa Kubo will leave Villarreal, with La Liga rival Getafe a strong candidate to take in the midfielder. Also heading to Europe are Shonan Bellmare’s Mitsuki Saito, who has joined Russia’s Rubin Kazan on loan, and fellow midfielder Toichi Suzuki, who will play for Swiss outfit Lausanne.
Kyodo reports that Yokohama FC forward Koki Saito’s move to the Belgian second tier could dramatically alter the market for young Japanese talent. The move to Lommel for Saito, who made his pro debut in the J2 in July 2018 at age 16, resulted from the youngster’s dream to test himself in Europe and the club’s desire to reap a substantial fee — which it did.
Lommel was bought last year by City Football Group, which owns powerhouse Manchester City and holds a stake in Yokohama F. Marinos. “They will be our partner when we search for his next club, one that suits his progress at the time,” said Yusuke Yanagida, a go-between who helped negotiate the deal.