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Friday, Dec. 30, 2011

Kyoto, FC Tokyo reach Emperor's Cup final

Kyodo

J. League second-division minnows Kyoto Sanga set up a historic Emperor's Cup final with J2 champion FC Tokyo after scalping Yokohama F. Marinos 4-2 in extra time on Thursday.

No J2 team had ever reached the final on New Year's Day.

Substitutes Yuya Kubo and Yoshiaki Komai scored in the second half of extra time from 2-2 for Kyoto, which previously lifted the cup in 2002 with Gert Engels in charge.

Kohei Kudo and Dutra also struck during the second half of normal time for Takeshi Oki's side, which had knocked out holders Kashima Antlers in the round of 16.

Kazuma Watanabe netted the opener for Marinos in the first half, and substitute Masashi Oguro invited the extra 30 minutes deep into injury time.

The Emperor's Cup winners will qualify for next year's Asian Champions League alongside the top three finishers of the J. League — Kashiwa Reysol, Nagoya Grampus and Gamba Osaka.

"I don't want to say congratulations to my team just yet. Not until we win one more," said Oki, an assistant to Takeshi Okada on Japan's 2010 World Cup team.

At Osaka Nagai Stadium, Tatsuya Yazawa scored the 77th-minute winner in a 1-0 victory over Cerezo Osaka, who played their last game under Levir Culpi.

Marinos may have had the lead at the break, but it was Kyoto which brought all the excitement in the first half at the National Stadium.

Sanga's go-go style was full on as they took the game right to the J1 giants, who had squeezed past Nagoya on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the quarterfinals.

Kyoto came within inches of scoring not just once but three times in the 38th minute.

First, forward Takumi Miyayoshi had a header cleared off the line. Defender Michitaka Akimoto then pounced on the rebound, hitting the underside of the bar, before Koken Kato smashed the deflection off the left-hand post.

A minute later, Dutra had a header kept out by goalkeeper Hiroki Iikura as Sanga continued to pour on the attack.

Yet it was Marinos who would break the deadlock against the run of play in the 42nd minute, when Shunsuke Nakamura pierced the Kyoto defense with a through ball for Watanabe.



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