Japanese Non-league Football News

Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off Results
The First Round group stage of the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament has been staged over the weekend, with fourteen top Regional League sides competing for the right to go through to the Final Round next weekend - the ultimate goal, of course, being a place in the JFL next season. The participants were divided into four groups, the winners of which would qualify for the deciding stage.

Group A was essentially a battle between competition favourites Fagiano Okayama and Kyushu's Honda Lock, who were relegated out of the JFL just twelve months ago. With each having beaten Tohoku League side Grulla Morioka, the decider on Sunday was taken 3-1 by Chugoku League champions Fagiano. They will be joined next week by Group B winners New Wave Kitakyushu, whose passage past unfancied Yazaki Valente and NEC Tokin was not necessarily as smooth as they might have liked.

There were four teams apiece in Groups C and D - and both were won by representatives from Kansai, although FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu were taking part in their capacity as holders of the All-Japan Shakaijin competition held last month. Banditonce Kobe continue to develop their reputation as one of the top sides at this level of football, winning Group C in the main thanks to a key victory over ambitious Kanto League champions FC Machida Zelvia.

And Group D was a thriller of a contest between FC Mi-o and Matsumoto Yamaga Club from the Hokushinetsu region. Mi-o crushed FC Central Chugoku 9-1 in the opening fixture in the group, while Matsumoto brushed aside Tokushima Vortis Amateur. In the end it came down to the last match and it was the more experienced Light Greens from Shiga prefecture who overcame a stiff challenge from the Dark Greens from Nagano.

Group A in Hiroshima

Fri 23 Nov: Grulla Morioka 1-2 Fagiano Okayama
Sat 24 Nov: Grulla Morioka 0-3 Honda Lock
Sun 25 Nov: Fagiano Okayama 3-1 Honda Lock

1. Fagiano Okayama 6 (+3)
2. Honda Lock 3 (+1)
3. Grulla Morioka 0 (-4)

Group B in Hiroshima

Fri 23 Nov: Yazaki Valente 2-2 New Wave Kitakyushu (PK 2-4)
Sat 24 Nov: Yazaki Valente 2-1 NEC Tokin
Sun 25 Nov: New Wave Kitakyushu 1-0 NEC Tokin

1. New Wave Kitakyushu 5 (+1)
2. Yazaki Valente 4 (+1)
3. NEC Tokin 0 (-2)

Group C in Kariya

Fri 23 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia 0-1 Banditonce Kobe
Fri 23 Nov: Shizuoka FC 3-1 Norbritz Hokkaido
Sat 24 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia 2-2 Shizuoka FC (PK 5-4)
Sat 24 Nov: Banditonce Kobe 3-1 Norbritz Hokkaido
Sun 25 Nov: FC Machida Zelvia 6-0 Norbritz Hokkaido
Sun 25 Nov: Banditonce Kobe 3-1 Shizuoka FC

1. Banditonce Kobe 9 (+5)
2. FC Machida Zelvia 5 (+5)
3. Shizuoka 4 (-)
4. Norbritz Hokkaido 0 (-10)

Group D in Matsumoto

Fri 23 Nov: FC Central Chugoku 1-9 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Fri 23 Nov: Matsumoto Yamaga Club 4-0 Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sat 24 Nov: FC Central Chugoku 0-4 Matsumoto Yamaga Club
Sat 24 Nov: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 2-1 Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 25 Nov: FC Central Chugoku 0-6 Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 25 Nov: FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 2-0 Matsumoto Yamaga Club

1. FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 9 (+11)
2. Matsumoto Yamaga Club 6 (+6)
3. Tokushima Vortis Amateur 3 (+1)
4. FC Central Chugoku 0 (-18)

JFL Sunday Scores
There's no doubt where the key JFL match was on Sunday, as promotion-chasing FC Gifu fell to a disastrous 3-1 home defeat at the hands of champions Sagawa Kyubin SC. This means that Gifu are now only two points ahead of fifth-placed Honda FC with one game to go - although the Greens should be safe, seeing as that particular game is against bottom team Arte Takasaki.

Honda themselves overtook a YKK AP team who have gone into a slump following coach Hiroshi Sowa's decision to field a weakened line-up in the last couple of matches. A resurgent Yokogawa Musashino may yet have a part to play as they moved back up to seventh with a 1-0 win in Okayama against Mitsubishi Mizushima, while promoted Rosso Kumamoto drew 2-2 at TDK SC.

If there is to be a relegation play-off it will be FC Ryukyu who might have to take part in it. The Okinawans will now definitely finish second bottom, as a result of their draw with Sony Sendai. In the other game, JEF Reserves were 2-1 winners at home to Gainare Tottori.

Sun 25 Nov: FC Gifu 1-3 Sagawa Kyubin SC
FC Ryukyu 2-2 Sony Sendai
Honda FC 3-0 YKK AP
JEF Reserves 2-1 Gainare Tottori
Mitsubishi Mizushima 0-1 Yokogawa Musashino
TDK SC 2-2 Rosso Kumamoto

1. Sagawa Kyubin SC 77 (+47)
2. Rosso Kumamoto 66 (+28)
3. Alo's Hokuriku 58 (+15)
4. FC Gifu 57 (+12)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
5. Honda FC 55 (+22)
6. YKK AP 55 (+8)
7. Yokogawa Musashino 54 (+7)
8. JEF Reserves 51 (+5)
9. Tochigi SC 49 (+13)
10. Ryutsu Keizai University 44 (+2)
11. Sagawa Printing 43 (-8)
12. TDK SC 42 (+5)
13. Sony Sendai 41 (-14)
14. Gainare Tottori 39 (-8)
15. Mitsubishi Mizushima 35 (-15)
16. FC Kariya 28 (-22)
17. FC Ryukyu 24 (-45)
18. Arte Takasaki 7 (-52)
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