Asahikawa-Jitsugyo and Yonago Kita among teams earning promotion to the Premier League - Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League 2022 Play-Off
12 December 2022
The Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League 2022 Play-Off took place on Sunday 11 December, with six second-round fixtures played in Hiroshima, to decide the six teams that will be promoted to the Premier League from the 2023 season.
Featured Match 1
Asahikawa-Jitsugyo High School 0-0 (0-0, 0-0, Ex:0-0, 0-0, PK:5-4) Kyoto Sanga FC U-18
At Balcom BMW Hiroshima Stadium, the match between Asahikawa-Jitsugyo High School (Hokkaido 1) and Kyoto Sanga FC U-18 (Kansai 2/Kyoto) came down to the wire.
The match started with Kyoto controlling the ball possession to create chances. In the 14th minute, SHIMA Ryunosuke (#9) attempted a long-range shot, but Asahikawa-Jitsugyo goalkeeper ECHIGO Kichi (#1) made a superb save to stop the shot. KITA Kazunari (#13), who connected with a corner kick, gave Kyoto another chance, but his header missed the goal. Despite their dominance in ball possession, Kyoto found it difficult to penetrate Asahikawa-Jitsugyo's disciplined defence, resulting in a scoreless half.
The second half saw Asahikawa-Jitsugyo create more chances in the attacking third but couldn’t find ways to finish their plays with a shot. Kyoto also struggled to capitalise on their opportunities, as the shot taken by KUMAGAI Kudai (#16) was denied by the woodwork. After a scoreless second half, the match entered extra time, in which neither side was able to score the decisive goal, sending the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Asahikawa-Jitsugyo, who displayed a total team effort to keep the clean sheet, successfully converted all of their spot kicks to secure the victory, earning their spot into the Premier League, which will be their first appearance since the 2012 season.
Featured Match 2
Yonago Kita High School 2-1 (1-0, 1-1) Teikyo High School
The match between Yonago Kita High School (Chugoku 1/Tottori) and Teikyo High School (Kanto 2/Tokyo) saw action from the early minutes. The opening goal came in the second minute, when Yonago Kita’s NAKATA Kenshin (#15) capitalised on an errant pass committed by the Teikyo defence and struck a sharp shot that found the back of the net.
Teikyo maintained their composure and gradually accelerated their pace despite giving up the lead. Led by ITO Sota (#10) and SAITO Yoshito (#13), the Tokyo side created number of opportunities to threaten the opposing goal, but the Yonago Kita defence displayed great tenacity to fend off the attacks, as Nakata later mentioned, “We expected to be on the defensive end for a long time, so we were able to play patiently.”
While Teikyo applied more pressure in the second half, Yonago Kita also increased their intensity level to win the ball and initiate counterattacks. In the 53rd minute, Yonago Kita’s NAKAI Yuito (#10) delivered a well-timed pass behind the Teikyo defence line to assist the goal of FUKUTA Hideto (#9). Despite scoring back a goal from the spot in the 88th minute, Teikyo fell short from equalising the match, as Yonago Kita earned their place in the Premiere League.
As results of the second round, Funabashi Municipal High School (EAST/Chiba) sustained their seat in the Premier League, while Asahikawa-Jitsugyo High School, Shoshi High School (Tohoku 1/Fukushima), Yonago Kita High School, Shohei High School (Kanto 1/Saitama), and Kamimura Gakuen High School (Kyushu 1/Kagoshima) earned their promotion to the Premier League.
Coaches and Players' Comments
TOMII Tetsuo, Coach (Asahikawa-Jitsugyo High School)
We entered this match with the emphasis on collecting the second ball, which we were successful at throughout the match. There were some difficult moments in the second half, especially from the 10th to the 25th minute, but overall, we were able to improve our ball recovery rate. However, we needed to be more creative in the attacking third. We are pleased to have achieved our season's goal of getting promoted to the Premier League. We anticipate matches similar to these in the Premier League, so we must concentrate on earning points while also advancing our players through the tough competition.
FW #7 HIRAGA Sora (Kyoto Sanga FC U-18)
We came into the match prepared to display our best football and secure the victory. Although we were able to showcase our style in terms of ball possession, I regret that we couldn’t capitalise on the opportunities we created in the final third. That was an area we had been working to improve throughout the season, so this match served as a reminder that we didn’t have what it takes to get promoted. We entered extra time with the same approach and told each other to give our all until the very end.
MF #15 NAKATA Kenshin (Yonago Kita High School)
When I scored the goal, I knew Fukuta would find me once he had the ball. There was plenty of space in front of me, so I just took my chance and struck the ball as hard as I could. One of our objectives for this match was to score the first goal, and we were also focused on winning the second ball in defence. Knowing how Teikyo High School can possess the ball, we expected to be on the defensive end for a long time, so we were able to play patiently. We hope to display our counterattacking football at the Premiere League.
HIBI Takeshi, Coach (Teikyo High School)
We tried to keep our feet moving from the outset, but it wasn’t enough. With this being a tournament, we had to take the risks to score a goal, even though we knew our opponents were anticipating for their chance to counter. Midway through the first half, we were able to keep the ball moving, but we were unable to take advantage of our opportunities in the final third. With this being our second match in three days, the players were fatigued, but they fought hard until the end. We managed to stick with our football and the players did what they were asked for, so we have no regrets.
Prince Takamado Trophy JFA U-18 Football Premier League 2022 Play-Off
Tournament Dates: Fri. 9 & Sun. 11 December 2022
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