FC Tokyo win the “Tokyo Derby” to advance to the Round of 16 - Emperor's Cup JFA 103rd Japan Football Championship
13 July 2023
The third round of the Emperor's Cup JFA 103rd Japan Football Championship took pale on Wednesday 12 July. At Ajinomoto Stadium FC Tokyo (J1) squared off against Tokyo Verdy (J2) in the “Tokyo Derby.”
FC Tokyo 1-1(1-0, 0-1, Ex: 0-0, 0-0, PK: 9-8) Tokyo Verdy
With this being the first Tokyo Derby in nearly 12 years, the supporters of both teams cheered on with enormous enthusiasm even before kick-off.
The first big opportunity was created by Verdy in the fourth minute, when NARAWA Yuta made an attempt to convert a loose ball following a free kick, but his shot was blocked by the opponent. TSUNASHIMA Yuto also came close in the 15th minute, when he connected with ARHAN’s cross, but his header struck the goalpost.
Led by TSUKAGAWA Koki, FC Tokyo created chances of their own. In the eighth minute, the ball was passed through TAWARATSUMIDA Kota and Tsukagawa, before ABE Shuto struck a shot that deflected off an opposing defender.
After exchanging a few good chances at goal, it was FC Tokyo who scored the opener. The goal came in the 20th minute, when Diego OLIVEIRA delivered the final pass to Tsukagawa, who scored with a well-struck shot from outside the box, as the midfielder later reflected, “I haven’t scored from distance in a while. Initially, I was going to pass the ball, but for some reason I changed my mind and took the shot.”
Gaining momentum from this goal, FC Tokyo gradually dictated the pace of the match, but was unable to score another goal before halftime, leading 1-0 at the interval.
FC Tokyo continued to showcase their dominance in the second half, but it was Verdy who scored the next goal. In the 70th minute, SHIRAI Ryosuke scored the equaliser by converting a KITAJIMA Yuji corner kick. This took place only two minutes after the 18-year-old had been introduced to the match.
With both sides showing extraordinary determination and commitment to claim the bragging rights, the match remained tied after 90 minutes and even after extra time, forcing a penalty shootout to determine the victor.
After the first eight kickers from both sides successfully converted their spot kicks, FC Tokyo’s ninth kicker HIGASHI Keigo managed to score his spot kick with a powerful shot into the upper left, before goalkeeper Jakub SLOWIK made a crucial save to deny Verdy’s CHIDA Kaito and send FC Tokyo into the round of 16.
Coaches and Players' Comments
Peter CKLAMOVSKI, Head Coach (FC Tokyo)
With this being a derby match played in the Emperor's Cup, we were prepared for the unexpected. I know from experience that you never know what will happen in a cup competition, so we had to be prepared for everything. The same thing can be said for a derby match. I think the players fought bravely, with great dedication and conviction. I think it’s the efforts of everyone at the club that led us to victory, and we were able to make it a special night for our fans. Blue and red is the colour of Tokyo.
NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Tokyo)
This was my first Tokyo derby in 15 years, so I was really fired up. Although it was a difficult match, I think we were able to showcase our determination and pride at the end. The Tokyo derby was a turning point for me because my match-up with HULK 15 years ago caught the eyes of (then national team coach) OKADA Takeshi. There were a lot of emotions flying around in today’s match. I'm happy that the young players were able to experience the intensity of a derby match and the weight of carrying the club on their shoulders, so in that sense, I think it was a crucial match.
JOFUKU Hiroshi, Head Coach (Tokyo Verdy)
I want to express my gratitude to all of our fans for their unwavering support to the end. The players fought really hard, and it was my fault that we were unable to win. This debt must be repaid at the same stage. We will take today's disappointment as motivation to do well in all the remaining league matches this season, and we will definitely try to have our revenge at the same stage next year. With so many mixed emotions, I believe that this derby will be the most eye-catching game in the J.League, which can restore the popularity of the league. That is why we need to bring Verdy back to J1.
SHIRAI Ryosuke (Tokyo Verdy)
I entered the pitch determined to score a goal. The ball was delivered at the perfect timing, so I just needed to make contact with it. I was just trying to enjoy the moment when the match entered penalties because it’s such a rare occasion. I have faced FC Tokyo in many training matches during my youth career. Although all matches are equally important, this derby match is definitely something special.
Emperor's Cup JFA 103rd Japan Football Championship
【1st Round】Sat. 20, Sun. 21 May [Backup date: Mon. 22 May]
【2nd Round】Wed. 7, Wed. 14, Wed. 21 June
【3rd Round】Wed. 12 July [Backup date: Wed. 19, Wed. 26 July]
【Round of 16】Wed. 2 August [Backup date: Wed. 9 August]
【Quarterfinals】Wed. 30 August［Backup date: Wed. 13 September］
【Semi-Finals】Sun. 8 October
【Final】Sat. 9 December
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