2015/3/28 Vissel Kobe 3-1 Montedio Yamagata

Vissel Kobe manager Nelsinho rang the changes for this J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup match. Jung Woo Young was in at centre back, due to the absence - on Japan Under-22 duty - of Takuya Iwanami, and injuries to Takahiro Masukawa and Bueno. Shunki Takahashi was given a start at right back (Ryo Okui was on the bench), and Hideo Tanaka and 20-year-old Ryosuke Maeda were given their chance in midfield. Daisuke Ishizu began the game alongside Kazuma Watanabe up front, with Ryota Morioka also an attacking option.

After plenty of play with no real incisiveness the home team finally opened the scoring. A deep corner came over, was headed back across goal and Morioka headed against a defender on the line. With appeals for handball echoing Ishizu just got on with the game and steered it home off the bar to give the home team the lead.

Takahito Soma replaced Michihiro Yasuda during the goal celebrations as the former Sagan Tosu and Gamba Osaka left back succumbed to an injury.

Watanabe really should have done better then, as Vissel went looking for a second. The Vissel no.19 advanced toward goal in the 39th minute after winning the ball on the right wing. With just one defender and the goalkeeper back the former FC Tokyo marksman put the ball into the side netting with Ryota Morioka wide open at the far post. A wasted opportunity to double the lead!

1-0 at the break and Vissel came out for the second period looking good for another goal sooner, rather than later. A complex and patient passing sequence in the 55th minute ended with Keijiro Ogawa slipping a shot past the keeper, but it also beat the post by inches. And, as is often the way, just after Vissel failed to double their lead the away team were level through former Vissel favourite Ryosuke Matsuoka!

Nelsinho then brought on the experience of Marquinhos in place of Ogawa as the home team looked for their first win of the season in any competition. Both teams fought tooth and nail, from end to end, looking for maximum points and Nelsinho then added Pedro Junior to the mix, replacing Ishizu in the 74th minute. Within a minute Pedro Junior and Morioka had combined to set Marquinhos free but the keeper was quick to rush out and nullify the danger.

It was Marquinhos, though, who did make the difference when Watanabe finished off from close range to give Vissel the lead. Marquinhos had hustled and harried, flicked and tricked his way past what seemed like six defenders before his final - mis-kicked, it must be said - touch fooled the final defender and found its way to Watanabe who made no mistake. 79 minutes, 2-1!

As Vissel grew in confidence with their lead the chance came to make it three when Soma threaded a superb ball through to Pedro Junior who was upended as he tried to turn into space. Watanabe added to his tally with the penalty kick, and Vissel cruised past the finishing post with their first victory of the season.

Moist of the 5,617 crowd went home happy, while the Montedio Yamagata faithful began their long journey home.

Team - Yamamoto, Shu.Takahashi, Jung, Sho.Takahashi, Yasuda (Soma, 30), Tanaka, Maeda, Ogawa (Marquinhos, 65), Morioka, Watanabe, Ishizu (Pedro Junior 74)

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