Nippon TV Beleza complete dream year with Empress Cup triumph
Saitama: Nippon TV Beleza put the finishing touches on a joyous 2019, retaining the Empress Cup for a third consecutive year with a 1-0 victory over Urawa Red Diamonds in the final on Sunday.
The result completes Beleza’s domestic ‘triple crown’ – which also includes Nadeshiko League and League Cup titles – in a year which also saw the Tokyo club win the inaugural AFC Women’s Club Championship.
The 17-time league champions have now won triple crowns in consecutive seasons and lifted eight of the nine domestic trophies on offer in the past three years of Japanese women’s football.
We’d love to take on the world, says Beleza’s Nagata
Yongin: Nippon TV Beleza head coach Masato Nagata said his AFC Women’s Club Championship-winning side would welcome the opportunity to tackle the best clubs from around the women’s football world.
The comment came after the Japanese champions eased to a history-making Asian title with a sparkling 5-0 win over Australia’s Melbourne Victory on the final day of the FIFA-AFC Pilot Tournament, adding a maiden continental title to their impressive haul of domestic honours.
With the Asian club champions crowned for the first time in Yongin, Nagata echoed comments made earlier in the tournament by Beleza midfield dynamo Yui Hasegawa, who revealed her desire to test herself against the world’s leading clubs, including recurring European champions Olympique Lyonnais.
Yongin: Japanese champions Nippon TV Beleza secured a history-making AFC Women’s Club Championship title, producing another excellent performance to earn a 5-0 win against Australia’s Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
Beleza captain Mina Tanaka netted a superb hat-trick, with Sara Ito and Kokona Iwasaki also getting on the scoresheet, as the rulers of Japan’s domestic scene demonstrated their class to the rest of the Continent.
The result gave Masato Nagata’s side a final tally of seven points, creating an unassailable four-point lead over second-placed Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels, who will close the tournament against Jiangsu Suning later on Saturday.
MD2: Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels 0-2 Nippon TV Beleza
Yongin: Japan’s Nippon TV Beleza moved to the top of the AFC Women’s Club Championship table with one match remaining after goals from Riko Ueki and Rikako Kobayashi secured a 2-0 win over Korea Republic champions Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels on Thursday.
Ueki’s header opened the scoring just after half time, before Kobayashi sealed the win in the dying seconds, helping Masato Nagata’s side to leapfrog the tournament hosts and put themselves 90 minutes away from being Asia’s first ever women’s club champions.
With four points from two matches, Beleza’s win means they’ll be able to seal the inaugural club crown with a win over Australia’s Melbourne Victory on Saturday, while the tournament hosts, who are a point behind, could go into their match with Jiangsu Suning with the title already lost.
MD1: Nippon TV Beleza 1-1 Jiangsu Suning Ladies FC
Yongin: Nippon TV Beleza and Jiangsu Suning shared the AFC Women’s Club Championship’s first ever points, playing out a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the FIFA/AFC Pilot Tournament at Yongin Citizens Sports Park on Tuesday.
Jiangsu’s impressive Malawian striker Tabitha Chawinga wrote her name into the history books with the tournament’s first goal in the seventh minute, but Beleza were level just three minutes later thanks to Mjna Tanaka before a second half arm-wrestle.
The result keeps both sides in title contention with two further matches to play in the competition.
Japan's FIFA Women's World Cup-winning squad to open Torch Relay
Tokyo: The members of Japan's FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning squad from 2011 will open the domestic leg of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay, the Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee announced on Tuesday.
The leg, known as the "Grand Start", is due to take place at the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima on March 26, 2020.