Today is the third round of the Emperor's Cup, and they're down to 32 teams. Of the 48 clubs that appeared in Round One, only Fukuoka University and Matsumoto Yamaga FC remain. I'm watching:
Match 62: Montedio Yamagata v Kyoto Sanga FC. As of last weekend Montedio Yamagata stand 17th in the 18-team J-League Division 1 and mathematically they cannot avoid relegation. Kyoto Sanga are 8th in Division 2, but they won the Emperor's Cup in 2002.
Match 65: Gamba Osaka v Mito Hollyhock. Gamba Osaka are 2nd in J1. They won the Emperor's Cup in 1990, 2008 and 2009, the first time as amateurs. Mito Hollyhock, whom I may just have decided have my favourite Japanese club name, sit 16th in J2. Both clubs wear blue and black stripes.
Match 67: Sanfrecce Hiroshima v Ehime FC. Sanfrecce Hiroshima were one of the eight original clubs of the JSL, playing under the corporate name Toyo Industries. They were JSL champions five of the league's first six years, and won the Emperor's Cup in 1965, 1967, and 1969. Ehime are 15th in J2.
Match 69: Cerezo Osaka v Fagiano Okayama. Cerezo Osaka were another original JSL club, known as Yanmar Diesel back then. They won the Emperor's Cup in 1968, 1970 and 1974. Currently they're 11th in J1. Fagiano Okayama stand 14th in J2.
Match 70: Vegalta Sendai v Avispa Fukuoka. It's North versus South. Vegalta Sendai from Tohoku are 8th in J1. Avispa Fukuoka from the island of Kyushu are 16th.
[Japan is 13 hours ahead of Nova Scotia, so the scores come in early. Mito Hollyhock, Matsumoto Yamaga FC, Kyoto Sanga, Vegalta Sendai, Cezero Osaka, Ehime FC advance. Mito Hollyhock 3, Gamba Osaka 2 (aet) is a major upset.]