Reysol ease ACL blues with J-League Cup final win
Kashiwa Reysol beat Urawa Red Diamonds 1-0 in Saturday's J-League Cup final to win the trophy for the second time and ease the pain of crashing out in the semifinals of the Asian Champions League last month.
A header in first-half injury time from Japan international Masato Kudo handed Reysol the cup for the first time since 1999, and completed a hat-trick of domestic titles for the club in the space of three years having captured the Emperor's Cup last year and the J-League title in 2011.
Reysol are currently 11th in the J-League with four games of the season remaining, and saw their bid to become the first Japanese winners of the ACL since 2008 ended by a 8-1 aggregate mauling by China's Guangzhou Evergrande.
"We have had some tough times at this club, but the spirit of the players and the strategy of the team has got us through it," said Reysol manager Nelsinho, who announced his resignation after a league defeat in August only to change his mind and return several days later.
"Our spirit never crumbled, and this trophy is the result of that."
Urawa were aiming to claim their first piece of silverware since winning the ACL in 2007, but a disallowed Shinzo Koroki goal late in the game was as close as they came.
"I think we showed again how much potential this team have," said manager Mihailo Petrovic.
"I don't think this is the last final we'll be in."
Urawa are currently second in the J-League, two points behind leaders Yokohama Marinos.