2015/4/18 Albirex Niigata 2-2 Vissel Kobe
Vissel Kobe went into this away match unchanged, and hoping for a win against a team that has been leaking goals this season. With the forward line on a high after last week's demolition of Ventforet Kofu, goals were certainly expected.
The back line again saw a three back formation of Takuya Iwanami and Takahiro Masukawa flanking the central captaincy of Jung Woo Young, while the team was still missing Michihiro Yasuda, Shohei Takahashi and Bueno to injuries.
The game opened tentatively before Kaito Yamamoto was called into action to save a Rafael Silva shot after six minutes. The keeper was not so fortunate with that striker's next attempt and the Brazilian forward left the Vissel keeper with no chance with his 20 yard blast after ten minutes as the home team took an early lead.
Vissel were back on level terms through a little good fortune as a left side corner floated in, eluded the goalkeeper and bounced home off Michael James, who was busy watching his man and not the ball. Own goal. 1-1! 16 minutes.
Vissel proceeded to build upon their equaliser and had plenty of possession as the half progressed but it was the home team that took the lead before the break when a harmless-looking cross was misjudged by two defenders losing concentration and not communicating.
Vissel were level for the second time in the match just before the hour mark when ace marksman Marquinhos turned provider, his through pass into the area slotted across the keeper and into the far side of the net by Takahashi.
Moments later Ferrugem was cynically taken out by James - who earned a yellow card for his troubles - as he powered through toward goal. From the Jung free kick Iwanami headed over from close range.
In the 70th minute, as Vissel continued to look for the winner, Soma was pulled down from behind as he advanced into the area, but appeals were denied by referee Mr. Yoshida.
Marquinhos then had the chance to give Vissel the lead in the 79th minute as a fast break saw the ball reach YosukeTashiro - on as a substitute - who slipped it across to Marquinhos. The Brazilian only had to slot it home but decided to take an extra touch to control it and the ball was whipped away from his feet as he took the shot.
Morioka almost won it for Vissel in additional time but his close-range shot was blocked as he pulled the trigger, and then Marquinhos got on the end of a deep far post cross, but his shot was wide and Albirex survived to earn a point and stifle Vissel's ambitions to win three in-a-row.
Team - Yamamoto, Iwanami, Jung, Masukawa (Kitamoto, 46), Mihara, Morioka, Takahashi, Soma, Marquinhos, Ogawa (Tashiro, 77), Ishizu (Ferrugem, 46)