2015/9/2 Kashiwa Reysol 0-2 Vissel Kobe
Missing the likes of Marquinhos, Pedro Junior, Keijiro Ogawa, Michihiro Yasuda and Shohei Takahashi to injury, Vissel Kobe also were without the services of Jung Woo-young, who was representing Korea in World Cup Qualifying action.
Despite the fact that half a team was missing - which seems to have been the case for the whole of the season - Vissel came home with a well-deserved 2-0 away win in this J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup quarter final 1st leg.
The away team went all out in this match, with never a thought for defending for a draw and looking to win it in the 2nd leg. As early as the 6th minute a Takahito Soma cross, after a fine run, saw Kazuma Watanabe's header blocked. From the resulting corner Takahiro Masukawa was first to the ball but his downward header bounced wide as the helpless goalkeeper looked on.
It was Soma again - really enjoying a new lease of life on Kobe's left this season - who created an opening for Leandro in the 19th minute. The Brazilian's header drew a fine save from the keeper, and another corner for Vissel.
It went in scoreless at the break, although a superb long ball by Ryota Morioka found Daisuke Ishizu in behind the defence and the chance was on, but a push from behind was enough to send him over - no penalty given!
Vissel began the second half the way they ended the first - looking for goals! MInutes before the hour mark Morioka made a superb pass to Watanabe as the defence shaped to block his shot, the former FC Tokyo marksman placed his shot past the keeper but inches the wrong side of the post. How much longer could Reysol ride their luck?!
Not much longer, was the answer to that question as Ishizu finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute, with a left foot shot through the keeper's legs after pouncing on a loose ball and waltzing through the defence! Morioka and Leandro had made the chance with some intricate passing, but it was Ishizu who finished it off.
Soma continued to bamboozle his defender on the left and in the 70th minute whipped in a cross that Leandro volleyed spectacularly just over as Vissel looked for more goals.
19-year-old Shinji Yamaguchi replaced the veteran Soma in the 73rd minute, while Asahi Masuyama replaced Ishizu soon after that as coach Nelsinho gave some experience to his youngsters.
It was Yamaguchi who created Watanabe's goal that gave Vissel a 2-0 lead to take home for the 2nd leg. Minutes before the goal Leandro had broken clear and looked odds-on to double Vissel's lead but his shot across the keeper went agonisingly past the far post. Just as the home fans were, perhaps settling for the 1-0 win the away team confidently spread the ball from right to left and then Yamaguchi exchanged passes with Masuyama, as the youngsters combined to create space. Yamaguchi's low cross was net by Watanabe on the run. 2-0. Game over!
The attendance of less then 4,500, including away support, was disappointing. How many away fans can we expect for a late Sunday night kick off? A quiet away end is expected for the 2nd leg. Be there to help push Vissel into the semi-final! Kobe Universiade Stadium, Sunday, September 6th. 8 pm!
Team - Yamamoto, Okui (Shu.Takahashi, 63), Iwanami, Masukawa, Soma (Yamaguchi, 73), Mihara, Maeda, Ishizu (Masuyama, 79), Morioka, Watanabe, Leandro
65' Daisuke ISHIZU
85' Kazuma WATANABE