East Asia Japan

Kawasaki Edge Out Vissel to Win 2024 Japanese Super Cup

A lucky goal from debutant Sai van Wermeskerken was just enough for Kawasaki Frontale to clinch their third Japanese Super Cup, with the 2023 Emperor’s Cup holders edging out 2023 J.League 1 winners Vissel Kobe 1-0 at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday.

The 48th minute winner occurred when a free-kick was sent into the box, causing Hotaru Yamaguchi’s clearance to be blocked by van Wermeskerken’s leg. The ball then inadvertently found its way into the net off a scuffed kick by Vissel defender Matheus Thuler.

Earlier in the game, van Wermeskerken, who joined Kawasaki in late January from Eredivisie side NEC Nijmegen, saw his header saved by Vissel goalkeeper Daiya Maekawa in the 12th minute, while Bafetimbi Gomis’ powerful volley was stopped by Maekawa five minutes later.

Vissel had an opportunity in the 22nd minute when Jean Patric’s cross found Yuya Osako, the 2023 J1 MVP and joint top scorer, but his close-range shot was saved by Kawasaki keeper Naoto Kamifukumoto.

Despite Vissel’s attempts, Kawasaki remained persistent, with Gomis’ shot deflected narrowly wide before they eventually took the lead shortly after halftime.

In the 69th minute, Kawasaki midfielder Tatsuki Seko struck the bar with a 20-meter free kick, and in the 77th minute, substitute left winger Marcinho forced a save from Maekawa as Toru Oniki’s team ultimately secured a well-deserved victory.

Vissel manager Takayuki Yoshida made changes, including bringing on former Celtic midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi as a substitute, but they were unable to shift the momentum in front of a crowd of 52,142 spectators.

The triumph was Oniki’s tenth title as Kawasaki head coach, having previously won two Japanese Super Cups, a J.League Cup, two Emperor’s Cups, and four J1 titles.