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Final round set for the 23rd All Japan Futsal Championship

05 March 2018

Final round set for the 23rd All Japan Futsal Championship

The 3rd Sec. of the first round in the 23rd All Japan Futsal Championship took place on Sunday 4 March. With the conclusion of the first round, all teams advancing to the final round has been determined.

In Group E held at Green Arena Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture, Vaxa Takatsuki (Kansai 1/Osaka) took on Nagoya Oceans Satellite (Tokai 1/Aichi). Takatsuki took the lead early on, when SOBA Kuniyuki scored a goal in the second minute. They would go on to lead the entire half, entering the break at 4-3. But Nagoya rallied back in the second half scoring consecutive goals. Nagoya Satellite showcased their ability to score throughout the match, coming out victorious 7-5. With this win they kept their hopes alive to get through the first round.

In the second game between Fuchu Athletic FC (F League) and El Blanco Kochi (Shikoku/Kochi), Fuchu displayed their firepower. Although it took a while for the team to score the opening goal, UCHIDA Junta scored in the 7th minute, followed by SHIBATA Yusuke’s two goals in the 9th minute. Uchida would also score his second goal in the 14th minute to give Fuchu a 4-0 lead at halftime. Fuchu would then go on to rest their players with injuries and cruise past their opponents. YAMADA Rafael Yugo, who had returned to the team prior to this tournament, and the young prospect MARUYAMA Masaki contributed to the final score of 9-0. With this result, after winning three straight matches, Fuchu clinched their spot in the final round. 

Group F saw two very close contests. In the game between Divertido Asahikawa (Hokkaido) and Blacka Brocco (Kyushu 1/Fukuoka), Asahikawa had a 3-2 lead until just the very last minute of the match. But SATO Yu wearing the goalkeeper's jersey scored both the equaliser and the go-ahead goal for Blacka Brocco during their power play. With Sato’s last-minute heroics, the Kyushu side grabbed their first victory of the championship with the final score of 4-3.

Fugador Sumida (F League) and Deucao Kobe (F League) squared off to determine the winner of Group F and they showcased a great battle. Kobe, who will compete in the F League Division 2 next year, took the lead with a goal from MATSUYAMA Mitsuyoshi, who will retire at the end of the season. They would enter half-time with the one goal lead. In the second half, Sumida would come back to tie the match, but Kobe retook the lead when MORI Hikaru scored a lighting-speed goal off a set play. After falling to Kobe in the final Sec. of the 2017-18 season, Sumida rallied back to tie the match once again with a KURIMOTO Hiroki’s goal. And then just before the final whistle, TAMURA Kasho netted a brilliant goal to give his side their first lead of the match. Sumida would go onto secure the lead and made their way through the first round with three consecutive wins.

In the other groups, Bardral Urayasu (F League), who had played close contests in Group A, edged Voscuore Sendai (F League) to get through the first round with three straight victories. Shonan Bellmare (F League) won over Espolada Hokkaido (F League) 6-1 in Group C to advance to the final eight. In Group D, the reigning champion Shriker Osaka (F League) scored an impressive 11 goals to get past Boaluz Nagano (Hokushinetsu/Nagano), with the final score 11-3 to advance to the final round. They all join Fugador Sumida Buffaloes (Kanto 3/Tokyo), who had already punched their ticket to Tokyo the day before.

The six teams who has made their way through the first round will now welcome the F League champion Nagoya Oceans and the league runner-up Pescadola Machida in the final round. Total of eight teams will compete in the knock-out round at Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Gymnasium through Friday 9 March and Sunday 11 March to determine the best team in Japan.

Coaches' and Players' Comments

ONITSUKA Shokei (Nagoya Oceans Satellite)
Although we lost the match against Fuchu yesterday, this was going to be our last match of the season, so I had all the motivation in the world to play today. We had our supporters cheering for us, so we had to put up a good show for them. In terms of the match, we weren’t really united as a team today, and I think that led to conceding the goal in the first half. But at the end of the day, I am glad we were able to pull off a win.

MINAMOTO Akira (Fuchu Athletic FC)
Ever since the F League was established, All Japan Futsal Championship has evolved into a different tournament. With gaps growing between the F League clubs and reginal league clubs, it gives motivation for the regional teams to aim to play in the F League someday. And as for the F League teams, it’s our obligation to display a quality game. In that aspect, I think we did a good job showing the difference. The final round is the real deal for us. Our next opponent, Nagoya Oceans has not played an official match for over a month now, so I think we have an edge in this match.

SUZUMURA Takuya, Coach (Deucao Kobe)
Ever since the end of the league, we have been working towards this championship, and we had to win to keep playing with this current squad. We played well to create good rhythm, and good mentality throughout the whole 40 minutes. Systems and tactics will be worthless without that, so we are satisfied with our performance. With the loss, it brings an end to this squad. Many players will now move on to different paths, but I told everyone after the match to remember today’s play, and emotion. I want them to keep that in mind where every they go. Train and play matches like how they did today, and at the end of the day, that should help the Japanese Futsal’s future.

INADA Mizuho (Deucao Kobe)
It’s very disappointing, especially because we had the lead twice during the match. We led at half-time 1-0, but we knew it wasn’t going to end that way. It’s regretful that we allowed our opponent to tie us when we were up 2-1. We had good control of the game at that point, and we had to either maintain that lead, or to score another goal. With some players retiring after this competition, we really wanted to go to Komazawa together, but we did all we can, so we just have to accept the defeat.

Final Round 9 March (Fri.) Quarterfinal Fixtures

Venue: Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium/Tokyo
Access (Japanese website)

9 March (Fri.) 11:00 Bardral Urayasu
(F League, 7th place)
vs Fugador Sumida Buffaloes
(Kanto 3/Tokyo)
13:15 Fugador Sumida
(F League, 5th place)
vs Shonan Bellmare
(F League, 3rd place)
15:30 Shriker Osaka
(F League, 4th place)
vs Pescadola Machida
(F League, 2nd place)
17:45 Fuchu Athletic FC
(F League, 6th place)
vs Nagoya Oceans
(F League, 1st place)

The 23rd All Japan Futsal Championship

Final Round
Tournament Period: 9 March 2018 (Fri.) - 11 March 2018 (Sun.)
Venue: Komazawa Olympic Park General Sports Ground Gymnasium/Tokyo

For tournament information (Japanese website)
Final round ticket information (Japanese website)

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