You know how the Football Association in England has its Community Shield? Well, in Japan, there is an equivalent, called the Japanese Super Cup, or, under sponsorship, the Fuji Xerox Super Cup. It pairs the J.League Division 1 champions against the Emperor’s Cup champions (unless the former wins both, at which the J.League Division 1 runner-up takes part). In this case, either scenario will pit Hajime Moriyasu‘s Sanfrecce Hiroshima against Kenta Hasegawa’s Gamba Osaka on Saturday, February 20 at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.
The one-off match was first contested in 1977 but its current format has been established since 1994. There is no extra time in this contest; if the contest is tied through 90 minutes, the match goes to penalties. Here is the last of past winners of the Japanese Super Cup.
|Year||J. League Champions||Score||Emperor’s Cup Winners||Date||Venue|
|1994||Verdy Kawasaki||2–1||Yokohama Flügels||March 5, 1994||National Stadium, Tokyo|
|Bellmare Hiratsuka||March 11, 1995|
|1996||Yokohama Marinos||0–2||Nagoya Grampus Eight||March 9, 1996|
|1997||Kashima Antlers||3–2||Verdy Kawasaki||March 5, 1997|
|1998||Júbilo Iwata||1–2||Kashima Antlers||March 14, 1998|
|1999||Kashima Antlers||2–1||Shimizu S-Pulse†||February 27, 1999|
|Nagoya Grampus Eight||March 4, 2000|
|2001||Kashima Antlers||0–3||Shimizu S-Pulse‡||March 3, 2001|
|Shimizu S-Pulse||February 23, 2002|
|2003||Júbilo Iwata||3–0||Kyoto Purple Sanga||March 1, 2003|
|2004||Yokohama F. Marinos||1–1
|Júbilo Iwata||March 6, 2004|
|2005||Yokohama F. Marinos||2–2
|Tokyo Verdy 1969||February 26, 2005||Nissan Stadium, Yokohama|
|2006||Gamba Osaka||1–3||Urawa Red Diamonds||February 25, 2006||National Stadium, Tokyo|
|2007||Urawa Red Diamonds||0–4||Gamba Osaka‡||February 24, 2007|
|Sanfrecce Hiroshima‡||March 1, 2008|
|2009||Kashima Antlers||3–0||Gamba Osaka||February 28, 2009|
|Gamba Osaka||February 27, 2010|
|Kashima Antlers||February 26, 2011||Nissan Stadium, Yokohama|
|2012||Kashiwa Reysol||2–1||F.C. Tokyo||March 3, 2012||National Stadium, Tokyo|
|2013||Sanfrecce Hiroshima||1–0||Kashiwa Reysol||February 23, 2013|
|2014||Sanfrecce Hiroshima||2–0||Yokohama F. Marinos||February 22, 2014|
|2015||Gamba Osaka||2–0||Urawa Red Diamonds||February 28, 2015||Nissan Stadium, Yokohama|
† Since the Emperor’s Cup winners, Yokohama Flügels, had been disbanded, the runners-up, Shimizu S-Pulse, qualified for the competition.
‡ The same club had won both the J. League and the Emperor’s Cup in the previous year; therefore, the runners-up of the Cup qualified for the competition.
“There are no guarantees that we are going to win matches or titles. We have to keep our feet on the ground,” said Moriyasu to the Japan Times last month. “Getting results in all the games we had one after another in December has been a good simulation for us.”
“Yoshito [Okubo] and I are whipping up excitement in the J. League. Hopefully I will be the first one to break the record,” added Sanfrecce striker Hisato Sato. The club will be bolstered by the addition of Peter Utaka, a Nigerian trigger man on loan from Shimizu S-Pulse.
“Players put in a firm display today. New players performed better than I was expecting,” said Hasegawa to the Japan Times after Gamba defeated Nagoya Grampus 2-1 at their new stadium, Suita City Football Stadium.
“The pitch is close to the seats and there’s that atmosphere too,” said Gamba midfielder Yasuhito Endo, a former Japan international. “If we get as many (spectators) every game, it’ll be a fantastic stadium.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. JST/8:35 p.m. PT/11:35 p.m. ET. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the Fuji Xerox Super Cup 2015 between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Gamba Osaka.
- At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
- At least four cards will be issued.
- Hisato Sato will score for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
- Brazilian Patric will score for Gamba Osaka.
- Takashi Usami will score for Gamba Osaka.
- Masaaki Higashiguchi will make at least four saves.
- Takuto Hayashi will make under six saves.
- Yoshito Okubo will score for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
- Peter Utaka will score for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
- No goals will be scored in the first 10 minutes.
This will be a victory for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, as they get some payback for losing to Gamba in the Emperor’s Cup semifinals. It will be a high-scoring affair and this contest will also be a key tuneup game to AFC Champions League play later this month.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3, Gamba Osaka 2