2015/10/24 Vissel Kobe 3-1 Montedio Yamagata
Kazuma Watanabe scored all four goals in this J1 encounter, with a hat trick for his own team and the key deflecting touch from a free kick to give Montedio Yamagata their sole strike! If truth be told Watanabe could have had more goals in this match and Vissel could have made it safe much earlier before the striker's third goal in the 88th minute. With the defeat Vissel confirmed their status in J1 for the 2016 season, while Montedio were relegated.
The defence looked much steadier than in recent games, with the experience of Kunie Kitamoto in the middle at the back, while Hideo Tanaka was also given a rare start in midfield.
Vissel went on the attack early and Daisuke Ishizu was the first to come close as early as the 8th minute, when he saw his middle distance shot go wide. Ryota Morioka then had the ball in the net after a deflected Michihiro Yasuda shot fell to him at close range, but the official judged that he had handled the ball.
It was Yasuda again, marauding down the left wing in the 22nd minute who provided the low, hard cross that Watanabe blasted home from very close range to open the scoring.
Montedio tried to get back into the game before the break but the best they could muster was two off target headers from Diego, when, perhaps a better striker would have scored.
Vissel came out for the second period still on the up and Watanabe forced a fine close range save in the 54th minute as he looked to add to his tally. But first he added to his goal count at the wrong end of the field, deflecting an off target free kick from Alceu past his own keeper to give the away team some hope.
Within minutes, though, Watanabe gave his team the lead again after some fine attacking play from Kitamoto and Ishizu found Vissel's number 19 in space and he flicked his chance past the keeper with aplomb.
Vissel dictated the pace for the rest of the game, with Montedio barely seeing the opposition area and when substitute Asahi Masuyama broke from the half way line in the 88th minute the crowd just knew the goal was coming. Masuyama sprinted, checked, left a defender for dead then drew the keeper and the remaining defender towards him before slipping the ball aside to allow Watanabe to complete his hat trick from close range.
Team - Tokushige, Iwanami, Kitamoto, Sho.Takahashi, Shu.Takahashi, Yasuda, Jung, Tanaka, Morioka, Ishizu (Masuyama, 82), Watanabe
22' Kazuma WATANABE
60' Kazuma WATANABE
88' Kazuma WATANABE