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Regional League Play-off Groups Announced
After the conclusion over the weekend of the Kyushu League campaign, the JFA have confirmed the draw and fixture list for the forthcoming Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament, which will decide which teams are to be promoted from the Regional Leagues to the JFL. The format of the competition - which is to be staged in Hiroshima - splits the fourteen participating teams into four groups for the First Round stage, with each group winner qualifying for a further round robin group.

At present it is not clear how many sides will move up to the JFL, given the uncertainty surrounding the number of teams that might gain promotion from the JFL to J2 itself. That said, it is likely that at least two top Regional League clubs will have the opportunity to follow FC Gifu and TDK SC up into the third tier of Japan's footballing pyramid, with the possibility, too, of an extra team having the opportunity to play-off against JFL strugglers Arte Takasaki.

This, for the moment, is speculation and for the time being the contenders will be preparing for the challenge of playing what for some of them amounts to three vital matches in three days. But picking favourites pre-competition is a difficult task this year, with enough wildcards throwing in a degree of genuine unpredictability. It could be argued that Chugoku's Fagiano Okayama and Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe are the most likely teams to succeed.

But Honda Lock and New Wave Kitakyushu will be strong representatives from Kyushu, FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu are fresh from an impressive Shakaijin win and FC Machida Zelvia, Matsumoto Yamaga Club and Tokushima Vortis Amateur - from Kanto, Hokushinetsu and Shikoku respectively - all look set to be the best teams to come from their regions for some years. Below is a full list of participants and the First Round fixtures.

Participants

Banditonce Kobe - Kansai League champions
Fagiano Okayama - Chugoku League champions
FC Central Chugoku - Chugoku League runners-up
FC Machida Zelvia - Kanto League champions
FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu - All-Japan Shakaijin winners
Grulla Morioka - Tohoku League champions
Honda Lock - Kyushu League runners-up
Matsumoto Yamaga Club - Hokushinetsu League champions
NEC Tokin - Tohoku League runners-up
New Wave Kitakyushu - Kyushu League champions
Norbritz Hokkaido - Hokkaido League champions
Shizuoka FC - Tokai League champions
Tokushima Vortis Amateur - Shikoku League champions
Yazaki Valente - Tokai League runners-up

Group A

Fri 23 Nov: Grulla Morioka - Fagiano Okayama
Sat 24 Nov: Grulla Morioka - Honda Lock
Sun 25 Nov: Fagiano Okayama - Honda Lock

Group B

Fri 23 Nov: Yazaki Valente - New Wave Kitakyushu
Sat 24 Nov: Yazaki Valente - NEC Tokin
Sun 25 Nov: New Wave Kitakyushu - NEC Tokin

Group C

Fri 23 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia - Banditonce Kobe
Fri 23 Nov: Shizuoka FC - Norbritz Hokkaido
Sat 24 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia - Shizuoka FC
Sat 24 Nov: Banditonce Kobe - Norbritz Hokkaido
Sun 25 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia - Norbritz Hokkaido
Sun 25 Nov: Banditonce Kobe - Shizuoka FC

Group D

Fri 23 Nov: FC Central Chugoku - FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Fri 23 Nov: Matsumoto Yamaga Club - Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sat 24 Nov: FC Central Chugoku - Matsumoto Yamaga Club
Sat 24 Nov: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu - Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 25 Nov: FC Central Chugoku - Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 25 Nov: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu - Matsumoto Yamaga Club
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Kyushu League
The Kyushu League season came to an exciting end with a double header totalling ten games spread over Saturday and Sunday in Fukuoka, which the final outcome being that New Wave Kitakyushu took the title, as long-term leaders Honda Lock stumbled at the last with a 2-1 defeat on Sunday by V Varen Nagasaki. All of this means that it will be top two finishers New Wave and Lock who proceed to the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off in Hiroshima next month, while 2006 champions V Varen miss out having ended up in third.

For New Wave, this is their first Kyushu championship since adopting their current name in 2001, while predecessor club Mitsubishi Chemicals Kurosaki's last success was as long ago as 1989. Honda Lock, in contrast, are seeking to bounce straight back to the JFL after having been relegated only twelve months ago. But V Varen have much to mull over during the close season, having spent big in populating their squad with ex-J-Leaguers and players on full-time contracts, yet still failed to meet their target of a JFL place in one of the more competitive of Japan's Regional Leagues.

After having struggled all season long, Kumamoto Teachers and Fukuoka students Nanakuma Tombies are both relegated back to their respective Prefectural Leagues, while Kaiho Bank SC face a play-off to retain their status. And Volca Kagoshima captain and forward Shinichi Nishi ended up top scorer with a tally of 23 goals for the year. The same player also picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kyushu League, having notched up a remarkable record of netting 250 goals for Volca.

Sat 27 Oct: Honda Lock 3-1 Nippon Steel Oita
Sat 27 Oct: New Wave Kitakyushu 4-0 Kumamoto Teachers
Sat 27 Oct: Okinawa Kariyushi 4-2 Nanakuma Tombies
Sat 27 Oct: Osumi NIFS United 2-3 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki
Sat 27 Oct: Volca Kagoshima 7-0 Kaiho Bank SC

Sun 28 Oct: Kaiho Bank SC 0-4 New Wave Kitakyushu
Sun 28 Oct: Kumamoto Teachers 1-4 Nippon Steel Oita
Sun 28 Oct: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 1-1 Okinawa Kariyushi (PK 2-3)
Sun 28 Oct: Nanakuma Tombies 0-2 Volca Kagoshima
Sun 28 Oct: V Varen Nagasaki 2-1 Honda Lock

1. New Wave Kitakyushu 54 (+51)
2. Honda Lock 52 (+57)
3. V Varen Nagasaki 5- (+62)
4. Nippon Steel Oita 37 (+14)
5. Volca Kagoshima 33 (+22)
6. Okinawa Kariyushi 32 (+4)
7. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 26 (-21)
8. Osumi NIFS United 19 (-15)
9. Kaiho Bank SC 15 (-63)
10. Kumamoto Teachers 6 (-45)
11. Nanakuma Tombies 6 (-66)
JFL News In Brief
... Jorge "Pipo" Rossi has departed as boss of JFL whipping boys Arte Takasaki, to be replaced by former Tokyo Verdy 1969 coach Yoshiyuki Watanabe... the Gunma side are now guaranteed a last-place finish after this weekend's results...
JFL Sunday Scores
With five games remaining of the season, long-time leaders Sagawa Kyubin SC now need just a single point to make sure of what would be their first ever JFL title. Sunday saw them coast to a 3-1 win at FC Ryukyu, star striker Sho Gokyu contributing two goals to his side's fifth consecutive victory. Second place Rosso Kumamoto in the meantime gained a vital three points in their away game with JEF Reserves, which puts the Kyushu side a step closer to their target of promotion to J2.

And the equally ambitious FC Gifu would appear to have turned the corner and regained the form that seemed to have deserted them. They returned to the top four after beating Mitsubishi Mizushima, while rivals Alo's Hokuriku slumped to a shock 3-0 loss at Sony Sendai. YKK AP are still in target for a top four finish following their 2-1 win over FC Kariya.

Kodai Suzuki scored a first half hat-trick as Honda FC cruised to a 4-1 triumph at home to Sagawa Printing SC, while in the other fixture TDK SC's defence put in a characteristically solid performance before grabbing a winner ten minutes from time at Ryutsu Keizai University.

Sun 28 Oct: FC Kariya 1-2 YKK AP
Sun 28 Oct: FC Ryukyu 1-3 Sagawa Kyubin SC
Sun 28 Oct: Honda FC 4-1 Sagawa Printing
Sun 28 Oct: JEF Reserves 0-1 Rosso Kumamoto
Sun 28 Oct: Mitsubishi Mizushima 2-3 FC Gifu
Sun 28 Oct: Ryutsu Keizai University 0-1 TDK SC
Sun 28 Oct: Sony Sendai 3-0 Alo's Hokuriku

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 73 (+48)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 58 (+23)
3. YKK AP 51 (+10)
4. FC Gifu 50 (+10)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
5. Alo's Hokuriku 49 (+4)
6. Honda FC 48 (+18)
7. JEF Reserves 45 (+4)
8. Tochigi 42 (+11)
9. Yokogawa Musashino 42 (+2)
10. Ryutsu Keizai University 41 (+1)
11. Sagawa Printing 39 (-6)
12. Gainare Tottori 35 (-5)
13. TDK SC 34 (-)
14. Mitsubishi Mizushima 34 (-11)
15. Sony Sendai 34 (-15)
16. FC Kariya 27 (-19)
17. FC Ryukyu 23 (-35)
18. Arte Takasaki 6 (-40)
JFL Saturday Scores
There were just two JFL fixtures staged on Saturday, with the focus of attention on mid-table. Tochigi SC moved up a couple of places after Yoshiteru Yamashita's late goal proved enough to beat bottom team Arte Takasaki, while Takashi Harashima netted two minutes from time to get a point for Yokogawa Musashino at Gainare Tottori.

Sat 27 Sep: Arte Takasaki 0-1 Tochigi SC
Sat 27 Sep: Gainare Tottori 2-2 Yokogawa Musashino

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 70 (+46)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 55 (+22)
3. Alo's Hokuriku 49 (+7)
4. YKK AP 48 (+9)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
5. FC Gifu 47 (+9)
6. Honda FC 45 (+15)
7. JEF Reserves 45 (+5)
8. Tochigi 42 (+11)
9. Yokogawa Musashino 42 (+2)
10. Ryutsu Keizai University 41 (+2)
11. Sagawa Printing 39 (-3)
12. Gainare Tottori 35 (-5)
13. Mitsubishi Mizushima 34 (-10)
14. TDK SC 31 (-1)
15. Sony Sendai 31 (-18)
16. FC Kariya 27 (-18)
17. FC Ryukyu 23 (-33)
18. Arte Takasaki 6 (-40)
Tohoku League Division 2 (North)
After some confusion over results published elsewhere in Division 2 (North) of the Tohoku League, it can finally be confirmed that FC Akita Cambiare have retained their title and will go forward to take on Viancone Fukushima in a play-off for the one automatic promotion place. But Cambiare's triumph was made certain only after a final round victory over runners-up Mizusawa Club, who put together a strong series of results in the second half of the season to emerge from the pack as the likeliest challengers to the supremacy of the reigning champions.

Tono Club, on the other hand, faded from the scene to finish in third, after disappointing results against the likes of Vanraure Hachinohe and Omiya Club. And it is the latter side that seem likely to face a play-off to stay in the division, after having been promoted from the Prefectural Leagues themselves only a year ago. With one re-arranged fixture against Fuji Club 2003 still to be played, Hokuto Bank are guaranteed to finish last and would appear to be heading for automatic relegation at the end of their eighth season in the Tohoku League.

Sun 05 Aug: Saruta Industry 5-3 Fuji Club 2003
Sun 05 Aug: Vanraure Hachinohe 0-5 FC Akita Cambiare

Sun 12 Aug: Hokuto Bank 1-5 Saruta Industry

Sun 19 Aug: Hokuto Bank 3-3 Tono Club

Sun 09 Sep: Fuji Club 2003 5-3 Omiya Club
Sun 09 Sep: Mizusawa Club 4-0 Tono Club
Sun 09 Sep: Saruta Industry 2-2 Vanraure Hachinohe

Sun 16 Sep: Tono Club 2-1 Saruta Industry

Sun 23 Sep: Mizusawa Club 2-0 Omiya Club

Sun 30 Sep: Mizusawa Club 4-3 Hokuto Bank
Sun 30 Sep: Tono Club 4-1 Fuji Club 2003

Sun 07 Oct: FC Akita Cambiare 2-1 Fuji Club 2003
Sun 07 Oct: Hokuto Bank 2-6 Mizusawa Club
Sun 07 Oct: Omiya Club 1-2 Saruta Industry
Sun 07 Oct: Tono Club 1-2 Vanraure Hachinohe

Sun 14 Oct: Mizusawa Club 2-1 Fuji Club 2003
Sun 14 Oct: Omiya Club 1-1 Vanraure Hachinohe
Sun 14 Oct: Saruta Industry 2-0 Hokuto Bank
Sun 14 Oct: Tono Club 2-2 FC Akita Cambiare

Sun 21 Oct: FC Akita Cambiare 1-0 Mizusawa Club
Sun 21 Oct: Fuji Club 2003 3-2 Saruta Industry
Sun 21 Oct: Hokuto Bank 0-5 Vanraure Hachinohe
Sun 21 Oct: Tono Club 2-3 Omiya Club

1. FC Akita Cambiare 32 (+33)
2. Mizusawa Club 29 (+17)
3. Tono Club 27 (+9)
4. Saruta Industry 19 (-)
5. Fuji Club 2003 18 (+1)
6. Vanraure Hachinohe 17 (-3)
7. Omiya Club 9 (-19)
8. Hokuto Bank 4 (-38)
Tohoku League Division 2 (South)
FC Perada Fukushima may have scored the biggest win of the day in the final round of the Tohoku League Division 2 (South) season, putting thirteen without reply past poor Kureha, but the ambitious outfit have still been pipped for the title by deadly local rivals Viancone Fukushima. A 5-1 triumph for Viancone over Marysol Matsushima means that they go forward to take part in the promotion play-off with Division 2 (North) winners FC Akita Cambiare to compete for a place in the top flight for next year.

Kureha, on the other hand, seem set to drop down to the Prefectural Leagues after another difficult campaign that has seen them pick up just a single point from their fourteen matches. The likelihood is that they will be automatically relegated, while second bottom Kanai Club may face a play-off in order to retain their own Regional League status. But the two have struggled for some seasons now, whilst promoted sides Soma SC and Nakaniida SC have both demonstrated more of a capability to cope with the level of football.

Sun 21 Oct: FC Perada Fukushima 13-0 Kureha
Sun 21 Oct: Kanai Club 2-3 Soma SC
Sun 21 Oct: Nakaniida SC 0-3 Shichigahama SC
Sun 21 Oct: Viancone Fukushima 5-1 Marysol Matsushima

1. Viancone Fukushima 40 (+81)
2. FC Perada Fukushima 37 (+76)
3. Soma SC 25 (+3)
4. Marysol Matsushima 20 (+15)
5. Shichigahama SC 18 (-14)
6. Nakaniida SC 16 (-18)
7. Kanai Club 7 (-68)
8. Kureha 1 (-75)
Shikoku League
There is little doubt that the sensation of the year across all of the nine Regional Leagues has been the astonishing success of Tokushima Vortis Amateur. The team achieved little during their first season in the Shikoku League in 2006, but have trounced all-comers in 2007 to take the title - and fans will be awaiting with interest to see if this local success can translate into something wider when they participate in the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament next month, for a spot in the JFL.

Vortis concluded the Shikoku League campaign with crushing defeats of relegation play-off-bound Sanwa Club and Tokushima Comprille SC, running up a total of 31 goals in just 180 minutes of football. Not surprisingly, runners-up Kamatamare Sanuki could hardly compete with that level of performance, but their final game of the year did serve to underline the extent to which there has been a power shift in the non-league game on the island over the last couple of seasons.

For a 5-1 defeat for Nangoku Kochi would have been unthinkable even twelve months ago. Nevertheless, the southerners' period of dominance - which manifested itself via five consecutive title wins up to 2005 - can now be said to be most definitely at an end. It is Vortis who will represent Shikoku at national level this year and while Kochi and, last year, Kamatamare, were unable to cope with the step-up in quality, it could just be that Tokushima will be in with a chance of bringing JFL football back to the region.

Sun 23 Sep: Ehime Shimanami 1-4 Kamatamare Sanuki
Sun 23 Sep: Sanyo Electric Tokushima 1-3 Nangoku Kochi
Sun 23 Sep: Tokushima Comprille SC 2-3 Ventana AC

Sun 30 Sep: Ehime Shimanami 1-3 Tokushima Comprille SC
Sun 30 Sep: Sanwa Club 3-6 Sanyo Electric Tokushima

Sun 07 Oct: Tokushima Vortis Amateur 19-0 Sanwa Club

Sun 21 Oct: Ehime Shimanami 1-2 Sanyo Electric Tokushima
Sun 21 Oct: Kamatamare Sanuki 5-1 Nangoku Kochi
Sun 21 Oct: Tokushima Comprille SC 0-12 Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 21 Oct: Ventana AC 4-4 Sanwa Club

1. Tokushima Vortis Amateur 40 (+85)
2. Kamatamare Sanuki 37 (+54)
3. Nangoku Kochi 30 (+19)
4. Sanyo Electric Tokushima 21 (-10)
5. Ventana AC 14 (-29)
6. Ehime Shimanami 10 (-25)
7. Tokushima Comprille SC 9 (-34)
8. Sanwa Club 4 (-60)
Hokushinetsu Prefectural Play-offs Tournament 2007
Results have only just become available from the three final rounds of the Hokushinetsu Prefectural Play-offs Tournament, that decides promotion between the relevant prefectures and Division 2 of the Hokushinetsu League - but despite a last-gasp defeat at the hands of the Niigata University of Health & Welfare, it is the familiar faces of Nissei Resin who will make their way back up to the level of Regional League football in 2008.

The Nagano prefecture-based company side were relegated out of the Hokushinetsu League just twelve months ago and indeed have a considerable amount of experience in that competition, having taken the title on no fewer than eight occasions. They will replace Toyama Shinjo Club, while Play-off runners-up the Health and Welfare students face a further pair of home-and-away games against Teihens FC to see if they can make the step up for what would be the first time.

Sun 07 Oct: LionPower Komatsu 0-2 Niigata University of Health & Welfare
Sun 07 Oct: Nagaoka Billboard FC 3-0 Tateyama Bears
Sun 07 Oct: Nissei Resin 2-0 Fukui KSC

Sun 14 Oct: Fukui KSC 0-1 LionPower Komatsu
Sun 14 Oct: Niigata University of Health & Welfare 4-2 Nagaoka Billboard FC
Sun 14 Oct: Tateyama Bears 2-4 Nissei Resin

Sun 21 Oct: Fukui KSC 3-1 Tateyama Bears
Sun 21 Oct: Nagaoka Billboard FC 0-1 LionPower Komatsu
Sun 21 Oct: Niigata University of Health & Welfare 2-1 Nissei Resin

1. Nissei Resin 12 (+9)
2. Niigata University of Health & Welfare 12 (+6)
3. LionPower Komatsu 9 (+2)
4. Fukui KSC 6 (-2)
5. Nagaoka Billboard FC 3 (-6)
6. Tateyama Bears 3 (-9)
Chugoku League
Fagiano Okayama remain on course for a perfect season in the Chugoku League, as in the penultimate match of the season they gained a comfortable 3-0 win over Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku that constituted the Pheasants' sixteenth victory in sixteen league games. The other match in the top half of the table during the current phase of play-offs saw FC Central Chugoku draw 2-2 with Renofa Yamaguchi.

Meanwhile in the bottom half, Hiroshima Fujita SC and their crosstown neighbours Mazda SC continue to give a good account of themselves as they picked up easy wins over JFE Steel Western Japan Fukuyama and Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado to leave the latter two clubs stranded at the foot of the standings. It has already been announced, though, that they are safe from relegation as no clubs will be demoted from the Chugoku League this season as it expands to ten teams in 2008.

Top Half

Sun 21 Oct: Fagiano Okayama 3-0 Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku
Sun 21 Oct: FC Central Chugoku 2-2 Renofa Yamaguchi

Bottom Half

Sun 21 Oct: Hiroshima Fujita SC 3-1 JFE Steel Western Japan Fukuyama
Sun 21 Oct: Mazda SC 5-1 Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado

Top Half

1. Fagiano Okayama 48 (+81)
2. FC Central Chugoku 34 (+17)
3. Renofa Yamaguchi 22 (-5)
4. Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku 21 (-4)

Bottom Half

5. Hiroshima Fujita SC 23 (-2)
6. Mazda SC 21 (-8)
7. JFE Steel Western Japan Fukuyama 11 (-26)
8. Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado 6 (-53)
JFL Weekend Scores
The match of the weekend in the JFL saw leaders Sagawa Kyubin SC pull off an impressive 3-0 win at YKK AP, extending their advantage at the top of the standings to fully fifteen points with only six rounds still to play. Second place Rosso Kumamoto's stuttering form continued as they were held to a draw at home to Honda FC, meaning that the ambitious Kyushu outfit have picked up just two points in their last four outings.

Their nearest challengers are now Alo's Hokuriku, 3-1 winners over mid-table Ryutsu Keizai University. while FC Gifu managed their first victory for more than two months away to JEF Reserves to see them move back into contention for a top four finish.

There were good wins for Yokogawa Musashino - who ran in three second-half goals against TDK SC - and beleaguered Tochigi SC, for whom ex-J-Leaguer Satoshi Yokoyama scored a hat-trick in their 5-0 demoliton of Mitsubishi Mizushima. Sagawa Printing netted twice in the last nine minutes to beat Sony Sendai, but Gainare Tottori will be disappointed with having managed only a draw in their game with FC Kariya.

The saddest story of the week concerns bottom team Arte Takasaki, who had the best opportunity to add to their season's tally of six points via a home match against fellow strugglers FC Ryukyu. Takasaki have won just once all year - and that on the opening day of the campaign - but took the lead against their Okinawan visitors as early as the ninth minute through defender Takuya Sugiyama.

The score stayed at 1-0 for very nearly an hour, only for Kenji Hada to equalise for Ryukyu, who went on to snatch all three points when Hiroki Nihara grabbed a second with only two minutes remaining. All this means that Takasaki have taken only one point from twelve games and are seventeen points behind Ryukyu at the foot of the table.

Sat 20 Oct: Arte Takasaki 1-2 FC Ryukyu
Sat 20 Oct: Gainare Tottori 1-1 FC Kariya
Sat 20 Oct: Rosso Kumamoto 1-1 Honda FC
Sat 20 Oct: Sony Sendai 2-3 Sagawa Printing
Sat 20 Oct: Yokogawa Musashino 4-1 TDK SC

Sun 21 Oct: Alo's Hokuriku 3-1 Ryutsu Keizai University
Sun 21 Oct: JEF Reserves 1-2 FC Gifu
Sun 21 Oct: Tochigi SC 5-0 Mitsubishi Mizushima
Sun 21 Oct: YKK AP 0-3 Sagawa Kyubin SC

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 70 (+46)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 55 (+22)
3. Alo's Hokuriku 49 (+7)
4. YKK AP 48 (+9)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
5. FC Gifu 47 (+9)
6. Honda FC 45 (+15)
7. JEF Reserves 45 (+5)
8. Ryutsu Keizai University 41 (+2)
9. Yokogawa Musashino 41 (+2)
10. Tochigi 39 (+10)
11. Sagawa Printing 39 (-3)
12. Gainare Tottori 34 (-5)
13. Mitsubishi Mizushima 34 (-10)
14. TDK SC 31 (-1)
15. Sony Sendai 31 (-18)
16. FC Kariya 27 (-18)
17. FC Ryukyu 23 (-33)
18. Arte Takasaki 6 (-39)
All- Japan Shakaijin 2007
The 2007 All-Japan Shakaijin tournament for clubs in the Regional Leagues and below has been won by FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu from Kansai - and as a result they will now proceed to the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off competition at the end of next month, in order to compete fro a place in the JFL. FC Mi-o beat Tokai-based company side Yazaki Valente in the Shakaijin final in Oita on Wednesday, after having battled through an extremely tough series of matches over the last few days.

The tournament began on Saturday, Mi-o claiming a good 2-1 win over Kyushu League leaders Honda Lock while their local rivals and Kansai champions Banditonce Kobe were the victims of the shock result of the First Round, losing 4-3 to Okinawa Kariyushi. In Sunday's Second Round, V Varen Nagasaki emerged as strong candidates by squeezing past Hokushinetsu League champions Matsumoto Yamaga Club on penalties - but FC Mi-o again impressed with a victory over the best team from Kanto, FC Machida Zelvia.

Into the last eight on Monday, the eventual winners once more had just about the most difficult match on offer but nevertheless claimed a 3-1 win against New Wave Kitakyushu. Yazaki Valente kept their run going by eliminating Ain Food on penalties, while V Varen beat Kanto's YSCC and tournament surprise package Kariyushi overcame AS Laranja Kyoto.

The big match in the Semi-Finals on Tuesday, then, pitched together FC Mi-o with a V Varen team desperate to hold on to the Shakaijin crown that they won last season - not least because qualification for the Regional League Play-offs via the normal route of the league is looking beyond them. But the dreams of the Kyushu side were shattered by a single goal early in the second half, while in the other game Yazaki claimed their place in the Final thanks to another win on penalties. FC Mi-o deservedly prevailed, however, and now go on to the Regional League Play-offs for another attempt at a JFL spot.

The full results of the Shakaijin tournament in Oita are as follows:

Sat 13 Oct: AS Laranja Kyoto 2-2 Nippon Steel Oita (PK 4-3)
Sat 13 Oct: Banditonce Kobe 3-4 Okinawa Kariyushi (AET)
Sat 13 Oct: Chukyo University 2-6 Zweigen Kanazawa
Sat 13 Oct: Fujieda City Hall 6-0 Kyokushukai
Sat 13 Oct: Furukawa Electrics Chiba 2-3 FC Central Chugoku
Sat 13 Oct: Honda Lock 1-2 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Sat 13 Oct: Kamatamare Sanuki 1-0 Sagawa Computer System (AET)
Sat 13 Oct: Luminozo Sayama 1-1 Japan Soccer College (PK 3-2)
Sat 13 Oct: Maruyasu Industries 1-2 FC Machida Zelvia
Sat 13 Oct: Matsumoto Yamaga Club 3-0 Toyota Motors Hokkaido
Sat 13 Oct: Nangoku Kochi 0-6 Ain Food
Sat 13 Oct: Norbritz Hokkaido 0-1 Yazaki Valente
Sat 13 Oct: Takada FC 0-4 New Wave Kitakyushu
Sat 13 Oct: Tonan SC Gunma 1-4 NEC Tokin
Sat 13 Oct: V Varen Nagasaki 5-1 Toshiba Fuchu
Sat 13 Oct: YSCC 1-1 Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku (PK 5-3)

Sun 14 Oct: Ain Food 4-0 NEC Tokin
Sun 14 Oct: AS Laranja Kyoto 2-1 FC Central Chugoku
Sun 14 Oct: FC Machida Zelvia 0-2 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Sun 14 Oct: Fujieda City Hall 0-1 Okinawa Kariyushi
Sun 14 Oct: Kamatamare Sanuki 0-1 New Wave Kitakyushu
Sun 14 Oct: Luminozo Sayama 1-2 Yazaki Valente
Sun 14 Oct: V Varen Nagasaki 1-1 Matsumoto Yamaga Club (PK 4-2)
Sun 14 Oct: Zweigen Kanazawa 2-3 YSCC

Mon 15 Oct: Ain Food 0-0 Yazaki Valente (PK 4-5)
Mon 15 Oct: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 3-1 New Wave Kitakyushu
Mon 15 Oct: Okinawa Kariyushi 1-0 AS Laranja Kyoto
Mon 15 Oct: V Varen Nagasaki 2-0 YSCC

Tue 16 Oct: Okinawa Kariyushi 1-1 Yazaki Valente (PK 3-5)
Tue 16 Oct: V Varen Nagasaki 0-1 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu

Wed 17 Oct: Yazaki Valente 1-3 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
JFL Sunday Scores
There wasn't much doubt as to the JFL game of the day on Sunday, as FC Gifu and YKK AP served up a thriller to match their status as sides aiming for top four finishes come the end of this season. Gifu were two up with barely a quarter of the game gone, but a purple patch mid-way through the second period that included a brace from star forward Mitsuru Hasegawa put YKK ahead - only for ex-Tokushima Vortis striker Jorginho to tie things up five minutes from time.

But a draw wasn't really good enough for Gifu, who slip back to seventh position as a result. They are behind YKK's neighbours Alo's Hokuriku, who grabbed a late winner at Mitsubishi Mizushima; Honda FC, comfortable winners over out-of-form Yokogawa Musashino; and JEF Reserves, for whom Shogo Kawano was on target twice in the first eleven minutes at FC Kariya.

Elsewhere, TDK SC continue to do enough to stay away from the foot of the division in their first season in the new JFL and gained another point with a draw at home to Tochigi SC. Making it three wins in a row and now unbeaten since July are Ryutsu Keizai University, who beat Sony Sendai, while FC Ryukyu's year just never seems to get any easier. The second bottom team in the league were defeated 2-1 at home by Gainare Tottori.

Sun 14 Oct: FC Gifu 3-3 YKK AP
Sun 14 Oct: FC Kariya 0-3 JEF Reserves
Sun 14 Oct: FC Ryukyu 1-2 Gainare Tottori
Sun 14 Oct: Honda FC 3-0 Yokogawa Musashino
Sun 14 Oct: Mitsubishi Mizushima 1-2 Alo's Hokuriku
Sun 14 Oct: Ryutsu Keizai University 4-1 Sony Sendai
Sun 14 Oct: TDK SC 1-1 Tochigi SC

1. Sagawa Kyusbin SC 67 (+43)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 54 (+22)
3. YKK AP 48 (+12)
4. Alo's Hokuriku 46 (+5)
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. JEF Reserves 45 (+6)
6. Honda FC 44 (+15)
7. FC Gifu 44 (+8)
8. Ryutsu Keizai University 41 (+4)
9. Yokogawa Musashino 38 (-1)
10. Tochigi SC 36 (+5)
11. Sagawa Printing 36 (-4)
12. Mitsubishi Mizushima 34 (-5)
13. Gainare Tottori 33 (-5)
14. TDK SC 31 (+2)
15. Sony Sendai 31 (-17)
16. FC Kariya 26 (-18)
17. FC Ryukyu 20 (-34)
18. Arte Takasaki 6 (-38)
Tohoku League Division 2 (South)
A round-up of results now from the second half of the season in Division 2 (South) of the Tohoku League, whose season has just one game to go. Almost certainly champions are Viancone Fukushima, the ambitious side previously known as Northern Peaks Koriyama, who have handed out a series of hammerings to allcomers since their crucial 2-1 defeat of their deadly local rivals FC Perada Fukushima back at the beginning of July. Bottom side Kureha, on the other hand, have just a single point to show for their endeavours this year.

Sun 19 Aug: Kanai Club 0-8 FC Perada Fukushima
Sun 19 Aug: Viancone Fukushima 5-1 Shichigahama SC

Sun 26 Aug: Shichigahama SC 3-1 Nakaniida SC

Sun 02 Sep: Nakaniida SC 4-0 Kureha
Sun 02 Sep: Shichihagama SC 0-6 Marysol Matsushima

Sun 09 Sep: FC Perada Fukushima 10-0 Nakaniida SC
Sun 09 Sep: Kanai Club 0-11 Viancone Fukushima
Sun 09 Sep: Marysol Matsushima 7-0 Kureha
Sun 09 Sep: Shichigahama SC 0-3 Soma SC

Sun 16 Sep: Kanai Club 2-2 Kureha

Sun 23 Sep: Kureha 3-4 Shichigahama SC
Sun 23 Sep: Marysol Matsushima 0-1 FC Perada Fukushima
Sun 23 Sep: Viancone Fukushima 8-0 Soma SC

Sun 30 Sep: Kureha 1-3 Nakaniida SC
Sun 30 Sep: Soma SC 3-0 Kanai Club (bye)

Sun 07 Oct: Kureha 0-11 Viancone Fukushima
Sun 07 Oct: Marysol Matsushima 0-4 Shichigahama SC
Sun 07 Oct: Soma SC 0-2 Nakaniida SC

1. Viancone Fukushima 34 (+69)
2. FC Perada Fukushima 31 (+59)
3. Soma SC 22 (+6)
4. Marysol Matsushima 17 (+12)
5. Nakaniida SC 16 (-15)
6. Shichigahama SC 15 (-9)
7. Kanai Club 7 (-60)
8. Kureha 1 (-62)
JFL Saturday Scores
A Sho Gokyu goal midway through the first half was enough to give all three points to Sagawa Kyubin SC in their top of the table JFL clash with Rosso Kumamoto on Saturday. The win puts Sagawa Kyubin thirteen points ahead of their nearest rivals with only seven games remaining on the schedule. In the one other game to be played on Saturday, Sagawa Printing moved up to halfway in the standings thinaks to a 2-0 defeat of bottom side Arte Takasaki.

Sat 13 Oct: Sagawa Kyubin SC 1-0 Rosso Kumamoto
Sat 13 Oct: Sagawa Printing 2-0 Arte Takasaki

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 67 (+43)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 54 (+22)
3. YKK AP 47 (+12)
4. FC Gifu 43 (+8)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
5. Alo's Hokuriku 43 (+4)
6. JEF Reserves 42 (+3)
7. Honda FC 41 (+12)
8. Yokogawa Musashino 38 (+2)
9. Ryutsu Keizai University 38 (+1)
10. Sagawa Printing 36 (-4)
11. Tochigi SC 35 (+5)
12. Mitsubishi Mizushima 34 (-4)
13. Sony Sendai 31 (-14)
14. TDK SC 30 (+2)
15. Gainare Tottori 30 (-6)
16. FC Kariya 26 (-15)
17. FC Ryukyu 20 (-33)
18. Arte Takasaki 6 (-38)
Tohoku League Division 1
Grulla Morioka and NEC Tokin are already confirmed as the teams who will proceed to the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament from Division 1 of the Tohoku League. Champions Grulla have won all twelve of their games so far this season, while runners up NEC are able to take advantage of the allocation of one extra place in the Play-offs on account of last year's dramatic success by TDK.

There is little to choose between the mid-ranking teams in this league, with Fukushima's FC Primeiro the best of the rest. Meanwhile at the bottom of the table, it's Nippon Steel Kamaishi who are most under threat of the drop but Morioka Zebra - currently celebrating their fiftieth anniversary - who are also in danger. The two teams are in action against each other this coming weekend in what could turn out to be a relegation decider.

Sun 09 Sep: FC Primeiro 1-9 NEC Tokin
Sun 09 Sep: Grulla Morioka 4-2 Morioka Zebra
Sun 09 Sep: Nippon Steel Kamaishi 1-3 Wiese Shiogama
Sun 09 Sep: Sendai Nakata Club 7-1 Furukawa Battery

Sun 16 Sep: Sendai Nakata Club 2-5 FC Primeiro
Sun 16 Sep: Wiese Shiogama 0-0 NEC Tokin

Sun 23 Sep: FC Primeiro 3-0 Nippon Steel Kamaishi
Sun 23 Sep: Morioka Zebra 1-2 Sendai Nakata Club
Sun 23 Sep: NEC Tokin 7-0 Furukawa Battery
Sun 23 Sep: Wiese Shiogama 1-6 Grulla Morioka

Sun 30 Sep: NEC Tokin 1-0 Sendai Nakata Club

Sun 07 Oct: FC Primeiro 3-1 Wiese Shiogama
Sun 07 Oct: Grulla Morioka 7-1 Sendai Nakata Club
Sun 07 Oct: Morioka Zebra 0-1 NEC Tokin
Sun 07 Oct: Nippon Steel Kamaishi 1-1 Furukawa Battery

1. Grulla Morioka 36 (+45)
2. NEC Tokin 31 (+40)
3. FC Primeiro 22 (+5)
4. Wiese Shiogama 14 (-5)
5. Sendai Nakata Club 13 (-13)
6. Furukawa Battery 11 (-27)
7. Morioka Zebra 10 (-18)
8. Nippon Steel Kamaishi 5 (-27)
Chugoku League
Sunday saw the first fixtures in the two sets of Play-offs that have been introduced for 2007 in the Chugoku League, with all the games this weekend being played on neutral territory in Hamada, Shimane prefecture. The format is such that, at the end of the regular eight-team, fourteen-game season, the top four and bottom four sides then participate in their own round-robin group mini-tournament in order to decide the final placings.

Fagiano Okayama won all their matches in the season proper and not surprisingly continued in the same vein, beating Renofa Yamaguchi 5-1 to take an early advantage over FC Central Chugoku, 2-1 winners over Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku. In the bottom section, last-placed team Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado were well-beaten by Hiroshima Fujita SC and Mazda SC defeated JFE Steel Western Japan.

Top Half

Sun 07 Oct: FC Central Chugoku 2-1 Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku
Sun 07 Oct: Renofa Yamaguchi 1-5 Fagiano Okayama

Bottom Half

Sun 07 Oct: Hiroshima Fujita SC 4-0 Hitachi Manufacturing Kasado
Sun 07 Oct: JFE Steel Western Japan 1-2 Mazda SC
JFL News In Brief
... struggling FC Ryukyu have signed Ryutsu Keizai University midfielder Kota Gima... Koji Ota, a 23-year-old defender, has moved from Rosso Kumamoto to ambitious Prefectural League side FC Ganju Iwate on loan until the end of the year... continuing their strengthening process are Tochigi SC, who have signed Korean defender Kim Ki-Duck from K-League giants Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors... two more Koreans - defender Soo Man-Hi and forward Chon Kwan-Shik - have joined Gainare Tottori, from FC Goal of the Aichi League and Tokai Leaguers MIE Rampole respectively...
Tokai League Division 2
A catch-up too in the results of the Tokai League Division 2, where Mind House Yokkaichi are now at the top after a series of good results, including most notably a 1-0 win at previous leaders Konica Minolta Toyokawa. Both sides have two games to play and are already confirmed as being promoted to the top division for next season.

MIE Rampole have finished their fixtures and therefore must be satisfied with a third-place finish in their first season at Regional level. At the other end of the table, with only one game to play FC Kawasaki are already relegated, while Morishin's FC have only the slimmest chance of avoiding the drop with Fuyo Club the only other team in danger.

Sun 02 Sep: Toyota Football Group 0-0 Fuyo Club

Sun 09 Sep: Konica Minolta Toyokawa 3-3 FC Kawasaki
Sun 09 Sep: Mind House Yokkaichi 2-1 MIE Rampole
Sun 09 Sep: Nagoya Club 2-2 Morishin's FC

Sun 16 Sep: MIE Rampole 3-0 FC Kawasaki
Sun 16 Sep: Morishin's FC 1-1 Toyota Football Group
Sun 16 Sep: Nagoya Club 1-2 Konica Minolta Toyokawa

Sun 23 Sep: MIE Rampole 2-0 Morishin's FC
Sun 23 Sep: Mind House Yokkaichi 2-1 Nagoya Club
Sun 23 Sep: Toyota Football Group 0-0 FC Kawasaki

Sun 30 Sep: Nagoya Club 1-1 Fuyo Club
Sun 30 Sep: Toyota Football Group 1-1 MIE Rampole

Sun 07 Oct: FC Kawasaki 3-2 Morishin's FC
Sun 07 Oct: Fuyo Club 1-2 Toyota Football Group
Sun 07 Oct: Konica Minolta Toyokawa 0-1 Mind House Yokkaichi
Sun 07 Oct: Nagoya Club 1-2 MIE Rampole

1. Mind House Yokkaichi 25 (+9)
2. Konica Minolta Toyokawa 24 (+14)
3. MIE Rampole 24 (+11)
4. Toyota Football Group 18 (+2)
5. Nagoya Club 15 (+3)
6. Fuyo Club 12 (-6)
7. Morishin's FC 10 (-15)
8. FC Kawasaki 7 (-18)
Emperor's Cup Fourth Round Draw
The draw has been announced for the Fourth Round of this season's Emperor's Cup competition, the stage of the tournament at which J1 clubs become involved. There are now only four non-league teams remaining and the two college sides, Juntendo University and Meiji University, have by coincidence been drawn against Shizuoka neighbours Jubilo Iwata and Shimizu S-Pulse respectively.

JFL leaders Sagawa Kyubin SC travel to giants Yokohama F Marinos, while TDK SC's reward for knocking out J2 leaders Consadole Sapporo in the Third Round is a trip to FC Tokyo. the full draw is as follows:

Sun 04 Nov: Albirex Niigata - Sagan Tosu
Sun 04 Nov: FC Tokyo - TDK SC
Sun 04 Nov: Gamba Osaka - Montedio Yamagata
Sun 04 Nov: JEF United - Oita Trinita
Sun 04 Nov: Jubilo Iwata - Juntendo University
Sun 04 Nov: Kashima Antlers - Mito Hollyhock
Sun 04 Nov: Kashiwa Reysol - Honda FC
Sun 04 Nov: Kawasaki Frontale - Cerezo Osaka
Sun 04 Nov: Nagoya Grampus 8 - Thespa Kusatsu
Sun 04 Nov: Omiya Ardija - Yokohama FC
Sun 04 Nov: Sanfrecce Hiroshima - Shonan Bellmare
Sun 04 Nov: Shimizu S-Pulse - Meiji University
Sun 04 Nov: Urawa Reds - Ehime FC
Sun 04 Nov: Ventforet Kofu - Tokushima Vortis
Sun 04 Nov: Vissel Kobe - Avispa Fukuoka
Sun 04 Nov: Yokohama F Marinos - Sagawa Kyubin SC
Tokai League Division 1
A brief catch-up on results in Division 1 of the Tokai League, where one single fixture remains to be played at the end of this month - a more or less meaningless mid-table affair between Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo and Fujieda City Hall. As expected, Shizuoka FC have bounced back from the disappointment of losing out last year to FC Gifu and have re-taken the title with only one game lost during the whole year. Following them into the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off are prefectural neighbours Yazaki Valente, who finished fully seventeen points ahead of a weak field.

Indeed the other clubs were mainly concentrating on staying out of the relegation places in a close battle at the wrong end of the table. In the end it was Kasugai Club and Honda Suzuka who went down to Division 2, both clubs having played just a single season in the top flight since winning promotion twelve months ago. The well-established Maruyasu Industries club just avoided the drop with a vital draw against Honda in their last match, but overall it is clear that there is little in the Tokai region to challenge Shizuoka and Yazaki.

Sat 08 Sep: Shizuoka FC 3-0 Fujieda City Hall
Sat 08 Sep: Yazaki Valente 3-1 Honda Suzuka

Sun 09 Sep: Maruyasu Industries 1-0 Chukyo University
Sun 09 Sep: Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 1-0 Kasugai Club

Sun 16 Sep: Honda Suzuka 1-1 Fujieda City Hall
Sun 16 Sep: Kasugai Club 2-0 Chukyo University
Sun 16 Sep: Maruyasu Industries 1-5 Shizuoka FC
Sun 16 Sep: Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 0-3 Yazaki Valente

Sat 22 Sep: Shizuoka FC 6-0 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo
Sat 22 Sep: Yazaki Valente 5-0 Maruyasu Industries

Sun 23 Sep: Chukyo University 5-0 Honda Suzuka
Sun 23 Sep: Kasugai Club 2-0 Fujieda City Hall

Sat 29 Sep: Yazaki Valente 1-3 Shizuoka FC

Sun 30 Sep: Chukyo University 4-0 Fujieda City Hall
Sun 30 Sep: Honda Suzuka 0-1 Kasugai Club
Sun 30 Sep: Maruyasu Industries 2-6 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo

Sun 07 Oct: Kasugai Club 1-4 Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo
Sun 07 Oct: Maruyasu Industries 2-2 Honda Suzuka

1. Shizuoka FC 39 (+39)
2. Yazaki Valente 34 (+27)
3. Fujieda City Hall 17 (-3)
4. Sagawa Kyubin Chukyo 16 (-13)
5. Chukyo University 15 (-1)
6. Maruyasu Industries 14 (-17)
7. Kasugai Club 13 (-10)
8. Honda Suzuka 12 (-22)
Hokkaido Block League Play-offs

The Block League Play-off Tournament in order to decide promotion to the 2008 Hokkaido League has been taking place over the weekend in the small provincial city of Obihiro. The four participants are simply the winners of the four local Block Leagues that comprise the second tier of club football in Japan's northernmost large island, the format of the competition being a straightforward round-robin group with the top two moving up to next year's Hokkaido League.

As such, they will replace Tokachifairsky Genesis and Hokushukai, both somewhat unlucky to be relegated given that there was only one point dividing the bottom four teams. That said, however, Tokachifairsky always struggled to come to terms with the higher standard of football during their two seasons at Regional level, despite receiving additional sponsorship money from the Genesis Entertainments Company; Hokushukai meanwhile go straight back down after having been promoted just twelve months ago.

The Play-off was won by R Superb Kushiro from the Eastern Block League, a club formed in 1999 and one who last participated in the Hokkaido League itself in 2005. Joining them in the local top flight next year will be the spectacularly named SSS Shefield from the Central Block around Sapporo, who did well to beat off the challenge of the more experienced Nippon Steel Muroran.

Central Block: SSS Shefield SSS シェフィールド
Eastern Block: R Superb Kushiro R . シュペルブ釧路
Northern Block: Kyokushukai 旭蹴会
Southern Block: Nippon Steel Muroran 新日鐵室蘭

Sat 06 Oct: R Superb Kushiro 2-0 Kyokushukai
Sat 06 Oct: SSS Shefield 3-2 Nippon Steel Muroran

Sun 07 Oct: R Superb Kushiro 2-0 Nippon Steel Muroran
Sun 07 Oct: SSS Shefield 8-0 Kyokushukai

Mon 08 Oct: Nippon Steel Muroran 5-2 Kyokushukai
Mon 08 Oct: R Superb Kushiro 6-1 SSS Shefield

1. R Superb Kushiro 9 (+9)
2. SSS Shefield 6 (+4)
3. Nippon Steel Muroran 3 (-)
4. Kyokushukai 0 (-13)
All-Japan Shakaijin
This coming weekend sees the annual All-Japan Shakaijin tournament take place in Oita prefecture. The Shakaijin is essnetially open to teams from below the JFL within the Japanese pyramid system and is therefore populated mostly by Regional League teams from across the country, although this year as usual there are also a small number of Prefectural League sides as well, most notably Hokkaido Block League club Kyokushukai, Sagawa Computer System from the lower reaches of the Tokyo Prefectural League and local powerhouses Tonan SC Gunma.

The competition has grown in importance since the JFA decided a year ago that there would be some connection between the Shakaijin and qualification for the end-of-season Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off, by which promotion to the third-tier JFL is achieved. Naturally, there is a fair degree of crossover between clubs that do well in their league football and qualify for the finals of this knock-out tournament; but essentially, one space in the Play-offs is open to a team that both, (a) fails to qualify for the Play-offs via their Regional League, but also, (b) either wins or finishes runner-up of the Shakaijin.

V Varen Nagasaki are one team who may have cause to be grateful for this additional route to the Play-offs, given that it seems likely that the ambitious Kyushu League side may end up squeezed out of the top two come the end of their league season. The most obvious other examples of clubs that have the ambition and perhaps the quality to compete, but have not done well enough in the regular league season are both from Hokushinetsu. Japan Soccer College have played consistently well over the last few years and won the title in 2006, while Zweigen Kanazawa eliminated both FC Kariya and Rosso Kumamoto from the JFL on their way to the Third Round of this year's Emperor's Cup.

The draw for Saturday's Shakaijin First Round is as follows:

AS Laranja Kyoto - Nippon Steel Oita
Banditonce Kobe - Okinawa Kariyushi
Chukyo University - Zweigen Kanazawa
Fujieda City Hall - Kyokushukai
Furukawa Electrics Chiba - FC Central Chugoku
Honda Lock - FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Kamatamare Sanuki - Sagawa Computer System
Luminozo Sayama - Japan Soccer College
Maruyasu Industry - FC Machida Zelvia
Matsumoto Yamaga Club - Toyota Motors Hokkaido
Nangoku Kochi - Ain Foods
Norbritz Hokkaido - Yazaki Valente
Takada FC - New Wave Kitakyushu
Tonan SC Gunma - NEC Tokin
V Varen Nagasaki - Toshiba Fuchu
YSCC - Sagawa Kyubin Chugoku
Hokkaido League
In the final round of the Hokkaido League season, champions Norbritz Hokkaido as expected were able to complete their fixtures with a 100% record thanks to a 1-0 win over third place side Barefoot Hokkaido. Separating those two teams in the final standings are Sapporo Winds, an impressive showing for a newly-promoted team - but their 3-0 defeat by Sapporo FC meant that they finished the year with three heavy losses.

That win by Sapporo FC in turn meant that they were able to jump out of the bottom two places in an exciting relegation battle. The regulations imposed by the Hokkaido FA in terms of promotion from the four Block Leagues are unclear, which means that Hokushukai and Tokachifairsky Genesis will potentially have to wait until the Block League Play-offs have finished to learn their fate. Hokushukai ended 2007 with a 1-1 draw against Blackpecker Hakodate that rather unluckily saw them slip to the foot of the table on goal difference, while Tokachifairsky may have done enough to save themselves by beating Toyota Motors Hokkaido.

Sun 07 Oct: Hokushukai 1-1 Blackpecker Hakodate
Sun 07 Oct: Norbritz Hokkaido 1-0 Barefoot Hokkaido
Sun 07 Oct: Sapporo Winds 0-3 Sapporo FC
Sun 07 Oct: Tokachifairsky Genesis 3-0 Toyota Motors Hokkaido

1. Norbritz Hokkaido 42 (+53)
2. Sapporo Winds 28 (+11)
3. Barefoot Hokkaido 20 (+2)
4. Toyota Motors Hokkaido 17 (-9)
5. Sapporo FC 14 (-11)
6. Blackpecker Hakodate 13 (-11)
7. Tokachifairsky Genesis 13 (-14)
8. Hokushukai 13 (-21)
JFL News In Brief
... Tochigi SC are aiming to give a boost to their distant hopes of achieving a J2 place next year with the news that they have awarded professional contracts to three players. Toru Yamazaki is a defender who joined the club from SC Tottori, Hiromichi Katano is a midfielder and Koji Fukazawa a forward... Rosso Kumamoto beat Kyushu League side New Wave Kitakyushu 3-1 in a friendly on Saturday...
Emperor's Cup Third Round Results
The main highlights of the Third Round of this year's Emperor's Cup for non-league fans were the exceptional performances of JFL sides TDK SC and Honda FC in knocking out J2 big guns Consadole Sapporo and Tokyo Verdy 1969 respectively. College outfits Meiji University and Juntendo University also deserve considerable credit for eliminating Kyoto Sanga and Vegalta Sendai.

Regional League interest in the tournament is nevertheless over for another year. Okinawa Kariyushi ran Ehime FC close but conceded the only goal of the game in extra time to go out and fellow Kyushu Leaguers V Varen Nagasaki were comfortably beaten at Shonan Bellmare. From Hokushinetsu, Zweigen Kanazawa's remarkable run has taken them past both FC Kariya and Rosso Kumamoto but came to an end at J2 strugglers Mito Hollyhock, while Banditonce Kobe of the Kansai League were swept aside at JFL champions-elect Sagawa Kyubin SC.

The full Third Round results are as follows:

Sun 07 Oct: Avispa Fukuoka 4-0 Tochigi SC
Sun 07 Oct: Cerezo Osaka 4-2 Honda Lock
Sun 07 Oct: Consadole Sapporo 1-1 TDK SC (aet, PK 9-10)
Sun 07 Oct: Ehime FC 1-0 Okinawa Kariyushi (aet)
Sun 07 Oct: Kyoto Sanga 0-1 Meiji University
Sun 07 Oct: Mito Hollyhock 1-0 Zweigen Kanazawa
Sun 07 Oct: Montedio Yamagata 3-0 National Institute of Fitness & Sports in Kanoya
Sun 07 Oct: Sagan Tosu 1-0 Tsukuba University
Sun 07 Oct: Sagawa Kyubin SC 4-0 Banditonce Kobe
Sun 07 Oct: Shonan Bellmare 3-0 V Varen Nagasaki
Sun 07 Oct: Thespa Kusatsu 0-0 Alo's Hokuriku (aet, PK 5-4)
Sun 07 Oct: Tokushima Vortis 2-0 FC Gifu
Sun 07 Oct: Tokyo Verdy 1969 0-1 Honda FC (aet)
Sun 07 Oct: Vegalta Sendai 1-2 Juntendo University (aet)

The Fourth Round fixtures will be confirmed as soon as they become available.
Hokushinetsu Prefectural Play-offs Tournament 2007
Currently taking place in the Hokushinetsu region of Japan are the Prefectural Play-offs. This annual end-of-season tournament will determine which team from the Prefectural Leagues is promoted to Division 2 of the Hokushinetsu League in place of relegated side Toyama Shinjo Club; and which will take part in an additional Play-off against the team that finished second bottom of the Hokushinetsu League, Teihens FC.

Within the format of the competition, there is one participant from each of the five prefectures in the region plus one university team. Four of the sides have experience of Regional level football, with the exception of Tateyama Bears from Toyama and the Niigata University of Health & Welfare team. The full list of clubs taking part is as follows:

Fukui: Fukui KSC 福 井KSC
Ishikawa: LionPower Komatsu ライオンパワー小松
Nagano: Nissei Resin 日精樹脂工業
Niigata: Nagaoka Billboard FC 長岡ビルボードFC
Toyama: Tateyama Bears 立山ベア-ズ
Universities: Niigata University of Health & Welfare 新潟医療福祉大学

The tournament is a round-robin affair with each team playing each other team once over five consecutive weekends. The results from the two rounds of matches played so far are as follows:

Sun 23 Sep: Fukui KSC 0-2 Niigata University of Health & Welfare
Sun 23 Sep: Tateyama Bears 1-4 LionPower Komatsu
Sun 23 Sep: Nissei Resin 5-0 Nagaoka Billboard FC

Sun 30 Sep: Nagaoka Billboard FC 1-2 Fukui KSC
Sun 30 Sep: LionPower Komatsu 1-2 Nissei Resin
Sun 30 Sep: Tateyama Bears 2-1 Niigata University of Health & Welfare
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