FC Tokyo Wins J.League Cup In Front Of Over 24,000 Spectators

Brazilians Leandro and Adaílton fired FC Tokyo to a 2-1 victory over Kashiwa Reysol in the final of the Levain Cup on Monday in front of more than 24,000 fans at Tokyo's National Stadium.

The final was due to take place in November but was postponed for two months after Kashiwa reported 13 positive COVID-19 tests among players and team staff just days before the match. The Japanese capital announced a further 884 cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday as it considered imposing a new state of emergency, yet 24,219 supporters were allowed to attend the final at the 68,000 capacity National Stadium built for the Olympic Games.

Supporters were treated to a superb opening goal after 16 minutes as Tokyo forward Leandro raced down the left flank, skipped past several Kashiwa defenders and scored with a neat finish.

Kashiwa were allowed back into the match seconds before halftime, when Tokyo goalkeeper Go Hatano failed to deal with a corner and Yusuke Segawa pounced to equalize.

Tokyo provided much of the attacking threat in the second half and were rewarded with an instinctive prodded winner from substitute Adaílton on 74 minutes. It is the third time FC Tokyo have won the Levain Cup, their last victory coming in 2009.

The match took place at the National Stadium exactly 200 days before the venue is due to host the opening ceremony of the rearranged Tokyo Olympics. The organizers took the unprecedented step of postponing the Olympics last year because of the pandemic. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared he will host the Olympics "at any cost" and his government is pressing ahead with preparations. 

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