Former Singapore coach Tatsuma Yoshida leads Ventforet Kofu to stunning Emperor's Cup triumph

Ventforet Kofu became the first second-tier outfit since FC Tokyo in 2011 to win the Emperor's Cup, emerging as champions of the tournament's 102nd edition after beating Sanfrecce Hiroshima on penalties in Sunday's final. Japan Football Association

Former Singapore coach Tatsuma Yoshida has led Ventforet Kofu to a stunning Emperor's Cup triumph, as the J2 League outfit beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima on penalties in Sunday's final to win the 102nd edition of the tournament.

With their triumph, Ventforet also became the first second-tier outfit to be crowned Emperor's Cup champions since FC Tokyo in 2011.

In what was already proving to be a dream run to the decider, Yoshida had previously led his team to victories over four other top-flight opponents from the third round.

And after Sanfrecce's Takumu Kawamura had cancelled out Kazushi Mitsuhira's 26th-minute opener with just six minutes remaining, it was Ventforet who ultimately kept their nerves to prevail 5-4 in the shootout.

The success marks a remarkable story of redemption for Yoshida, whose previous spell with the club saw him sacked after suffering relegation from the J1 League at the end of the 2017 season.

Nonetheless, the 48-year-old enhanced his reputation on the international stage after taking charge of Singapore in 2019, leading them to an impressive semifinal appearance at last year's AFF Championship.

His achievements with the Lions ultimately saw him earn a move back to Kofu at the start of this year, where he has now led the club to their first major piece of silverware and -- remarkably -- qualification for next season's AFC Champions League, Asia's premier club competition.

The Emperor's Cup victory comes as a huge boost for both Yoshida and Ventforet given the club have not enjoyed as much joy on other fronts, as they currently languish in 18th spot in the J2 League and resigned to another year in the second tier at the very least.