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Cerezo Osaka lift J-League Cup

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s Cerezo Osaka celebrated their first-ever domestic title after a 2-0 victory over Kawasaki Frontale in the J-League Cup final on Saturday.

Japan striker Kenyu Sugimoto stunned Kawasaki with a clinical finish after just 47 seconds before Brazilian midfielder Souza put the result beyond doubt deep into injury time in Saitama.

“It’s a great feeling,” Cerezo manager Yoon Jong-Hwan told reporters.

“It hasn’t been easy to get to this point,” added the Korean after an unbeaten run to the season’s first major trophy.

“To do it without losing a single match is a tribute to the players, who have done a wonderful job.”

Cerezo’s forerunner Yanmar Diesel won the old Japan Soccer League four times between 1971 and 1980 and also captured three Emperor’s Cups.

But the club has struggled since the professional J-League was launched in the early nineties.

Kawasaki, meanwhile, finished as League Cup runners-up for a fourth time.

“It hurts,” said Frontale coach Toru Oniki. “I feel responsible. We gifted them an early goal and controlled the game but were just a little bit over-anxious.”

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