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Cerezo Osaka win Emperor's Cup to seal AFC Champions League 2018 berth

Saitama: Japan's Cerezo Osaka secured their second domestic title this season after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Yokohama F.Marinos in the Emperor's Cup final on Monday.

Cerezo midfielder Kota Mizunuma scored a dramatic injury-time goal after Kazuya Yamamura had brought the teams level in the second half.

Cerezo manager Yoon Jong-Hwan said the players "never gave up and that brought us this result".

"I'm really delighted to have seen the players growing up so fast in just a year, and I'm looking forward to seeing them perform even better in the next season," he said.

In November Cerezo Osaka celebrated their first-ever domestic title after a 2-0 victory over Kawasaki Frontale in the J.League Cup final.

Monday's win was the first-ever Emperor's Cup title for the team under the name of Cerezo.

Cerezo Osaka came third in the J.League last season, trailing champions Kawasaki by nine points, after the Osaka-based team were promoted from the J2 league to the top professional league in 2017.

The win also guaranteed Cerezo a berth in Group G of the AFC Champions League 2018 Group Stage, alongside China PR's powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande, Jeju United of Korea Republic and Thailand's Buriram United.

Source: AFP