Vissel Kobe, the Japanese team where world champion Andrés Iniesta plays, managed to advance to the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League on Thursday, beating another Japanese team, Yokohama Marinos, 3-2, despite being in the relegation zone in the Japanese championship.
After a great investment and with 25 of the 34 rounds played in the national championship, Kobe is in the J-League’s sticking zone (16th). However, goals from Nanasei Iino, Daiju Sasaki and Yutaro Oda took the club to the quarter-finals of Asia’s most prestigious continental competition.
“It was a very difficult game, but I think it will give us confidence,” said Kobe coach Takayuki Yoshida.
Team game! Great job!!! One more step!!! Thank you fans!!! Let’s go @visselkobe!!
Best! Everyone fought well! One more step! Thank you to all our supporters! Vamos, Vissel Kobe! pic.twitter.com/10PJroR8Ys
– Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) August 18, 2022
Iniesta watched from the bench for a balanced match, in which a goal by Oda ten minutes from the end (3-1) practically decreed the elimination of Yokohama, current leader of the J-League, who reacted, albeit too late, with a goal by Brazilian Anderson Lopes (3-2).
“I think we played harder than they did, but they had chances to draw until the end,” said Hotaru Yamaguchi, who wore the captain’s armband in Iniesta’s absence.
Bojan Krkic and Sergi Semper, compatriots of Iniesta and also with stints at Barcelona, are also part of the Vissel Kobe squad, although both are injured.