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Iwata wins intense battle to earn their spot into the Quarterfinals for the second straight year at the 98th Emperor's Cup

28 September 2018

Iwata wins intense battle to earn their spot into the Quarterfinals for the second straight year at the 98th Emperor's Cup

On Wednesday 26 September, the remaining two Round of 16 (fourth round) matches of the Emperor's Cup JFA 98th Japan Football Championship took place. The matches had been postponed due to conflict with the AFC Champions League (ACL) match schedule, and the match between Jubilo Iwata (J1) and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo (J1) was played at Yamaha Stadium.

The match started under pouring rain, but both team’s supporters cheered on with great enthusiasm in hopes to see their side advance to the quarterfinals. The battle between the two J1 sides did not lack action from the beginning of the match. It was Iwata who struck first as they opened the scoring in the 15th minute, when the ball was connected from their defence line all the way to OGAWA Daiki who was waiting in front of the box. Just as he later reflected, “I had a strong emphasis on delivering vertical passes,” he threaded a through ball to free up KAWAMATA Kengo inside the box, which he calmly converted to give his side the lead.

However, Sapporo struck back just two minutes later. KIM Min Tae initiated their attack with a long ball delivered from the centre circle. HAYASAKA Ryota timed himself perfectly to connect with this delivery inside the box, who controlled the ball superbly before piercing a shot into the near side corner to level the match.

The Hokkaido side continued to utilise the long balls to create opportunities. In the 14th minute, HYODO Shingo sent a long feed to UCHIMURA Yoshihiro who made a run into the box but couldn’t connect well with the ball. The team will soon be forced to shift their formation as Uchiyama was subbed off due to injury. As a result, MIYAYOSHI Takumi played as the lone striker, while ONO Shinji was brought into the match to play in the offensive midfield position. Despite suffering a loss with an injury, Sapporo managed to utilise the situation to create a positive change in their dynamics.

The match entered the second half with an even score, but it was Iwata who had the upper hand in number of shots taken. In the 59th minute, YAMADA Hiroki capitalised on a loose ball following a corner kick, as he faked a pass to free himself up before firing a shot into the net to retake the lead.

Sapporo’s veteran player, Ono showed his brilliance in the 69th minute, when he collected the ball just outside the box and delivered a pinpoint delivery to Hyodo, who struck the equaliser with his header. This play was made possible with their shift in positions where Hyodo was pushed up while Ono dropped down into a more defensive role.

Despite getting levelled twice in the match, Iwata did not stop pushing forward. ARAKI Daigo who was brought into the match as a substitute gave Iwata great momentum as he chased down a pass delivered from Yamada in the 72nd minute, which induced an own goal to give Iwata the lead for the third time. Araki then fired a powerful shot from the outside of the box in the 76th minute to double their lead. Iwata went onto sustain their lead as they finished the match with a final score of 4-2, reaching the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

Coaches' and Players' Comments

NANAMI Hiroshi, Coach (Jubilo Iwata)
We entered the match with the intention to stop our bad run in the league matches and perform well with the players available. Although we conceded the gaols a bit too easily, I think we can improve by organising our line control and making sure to approach the ball holder more strictly. The fact that we managed to score four goals was something we can be proud of. I’ve been demanding my players to show a stronger intention to attack the goal in the past two days, and I think the players has responded to that. We lost in the quarterfinals in the Emperor's Cup last year, so we hope to achieve a higher result this year.

MF #19 YAMADA Hiroki (Jubilo Iwata)
It was important for us to advance to the next round, so this win means a lot to us. In the goal scene, I was committed to take a shot in those situations, and the only way to score from there was to aim between the legs of the opponent. After changing our system, we were able to carry the ball up front with more players involved, but at the same time it left a huge space in our defensive end. We still have many aspects to work on. As much as we would like to keep winning at the Emperor's Cup, we must also find ways to improve our performance at the league competition. In that sense, today’s victory should give the team great momentum moving forward.

Mihailo PETROVIC, Coach (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo)
Both teams showcased great aggression in offence to make this a great match, but unfortunately, we conceded too many goals and lost the match. Despite the result, I think we still managed to fight with great courage today. We levelled the match twice but couldn’t convert that third goal. It was a difficult match because we were trailing for the most part of the match. The team has lost consecutive matches in the league, and this makes it three in a row in official matches. We can now put our entire focus on the J1 competition, so we will give our best to earn good results there.

MF #6 HYODO Shingo (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo)
When I scored the goal, I knew (Ono) Shinji saw me in the area before he received the ball, so I was anticipating for the delivery. Headers are not my strong point, but I was thinking that maybe if I take advantage of this slippery condition, I might be able to capitalise the opportunity, so I’m glad it went well. Even though we managed to level the match in two occasions, it felt like we were always chasing our opponents, so it was a very difficult match. Although we had enough numbers in defence, we still gave up opportunities to our opponents from our own mistakes, so it made us realise that we still have long ways to go. However, we did manage to create some good chances for ourselves, so we will continue with those positive aspects while implementing what we learned in this match to improve our team through future training sessions.

【1st Round】Sat. 26, Sun. 27 May
【2nd Round】Wed. 6 June
【3rd Round】Wed. 11 July
【Round of 16】Wed. 22 August (Reserve date Wed. 26 September)
【Quarterfinals】Wed. 24 October
【Semi-final】Sun. 16 December
【Final】Mon. 24 December

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