RECAP: WEEKEND ASIAN ROUNDUP
Leo Osaki had a strong outing for Vissel Kobe as they came away with a convincing win over Vegalta Sendai to move further up in the J1 League standings.
Vissel Kobe came out firing on all cylinders as they took all three points in a comfortable 3-1 win over Vegalta Sendai at the Yurtec Stadium.
Leo Osaki started in the center of defense for Kobe and would come up big for the team when needed while on the other side Ryo Germain got his first start for Sendai, playing 63 minutes.
Previous games between the two teams have been shootouts, so the fans in attendance on the day were expecting the goals to flow.
Their expectations were soon to be fulfilled when in the 12th minute the host opened the scoring through Simao Mate when the Mozambicans glancing header found the back of the net following a Katsuya Nagato corner kick.
However, Kobe, with the likes of David Villa, Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski at their disposal, ramped up the pressure on the Sendai goal and came close to leveling the score minutes later when some excellent passing between the Spanish tandem left Iniesta with a chance at goal. Luckily for Sendai, goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt made a great stop.
Sendai could not maintain their lead as the visitors finally found the equalizer after the half-hour mark when again some excellent passing saw Iniesta with the ball in the area and his cross found the head of teammate Kyogo Furuhashi, who squeezed his effort past Schmidt.
Kobe entered the second half with the momentum and that led to them taking the lead just seconds into the restart as Iniesta's sublime passing released Furuhashi on the left and his low cross into the area found David Villa as he steered the ball home.
Sendai dug themselves into a bigger hole after the hour mark when Kazuki Oiwa redirected Podolski's cross into his team's goal.
It was a convincing win for star-studded Vissel Kobe as they showed that they may just be challengers for the J. League crown this season.
Kobe sits in fifth place in the standings with six points, while Sendai lies in 16th place with a single point.
Down in the J2 League, Cayman Togashi started for Machida Zelvia as they were blanked by Montedio Yamagata in a 3-0 loss.
Mix Diskerud did not dress for Ulsan Hyundai for their weekend game as they shared the points with Gangwon FC following a 0-0 tie.
Victor Mansaray did not dress for Binh Duong as they went down in a narrow 2-1 loss to Song Lam Nghe An.
Sydney Rivera's stay in the V. League was a brief one as he was released by Than Quang Ninh after failing to score in the two games he played in.
Chirs Cortez did not dress for Ayutthaya United as they went down to Army United in a 3-2 loss in their Thai League Two game.