Gamba Osaka sealed their place in the Emperor’s Cup final with a 1-0 win over Kashima Antlers on Saturday.
Yasuhito Endo scored the game’s only goal on 23 minutes after his cross caught out Kashima goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata and found its way into the back of the net.
Endo nearly doubled his tally soon after but was denied by the crossbar, with Kashima also striking the woodwork before half-time from a Yuya Osako header.
The second half lacked any real chances and Osaka were able to hold on to claim the win and progress to their third Emperor’s Cup final in five years, ensuring they have the chance to end their miserable season on a high after they were relegated from the J-League.
Masanobu Matsunami’s side will face Kashiwa Reysol after they overcame Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 at the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
A Masato Kudo header on 23 minutes was enough to send Reysol through to Tuesday’s final.