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I came across the following sentence

Aチームに[勝つ]【かつ】チームがあるとしたら…
If A team is the winning team...

Why is the に particle being used in Aチームに?
Why would it not be Aチームは in this case?
I have not come across an explanation on this usage of .

  • 3
    This is ridiculous because no one beats the A-Team. – istrasci Nov 9 '14 at 18:03
  • "It's the A-Team: Bodie, Doyle, Tiger, The Jewelry Man." – Eiríkr Útlendi Nov 10 '14 at 9:51
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First, your translation of the example is not correct, but that doesn't matter with respect to what you want to know. The example means "if there is a team that beats Team A, then...".

The verb 勝つ has the valency が―に, whereby が marks the subject, and に the object:

 subjectが objectに 勝つ

The antonym of 勝つ is 負ける, which also has a が―に valency.

One famous explanation of verbs like these can be found Shigeru Miyagawa's Structure and Case Marking in Japanese (Syntax and Semantics vol. 22).

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