2018/8/15 Vissel Kobe 1-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Vissel Kobe 1-1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Vissel Kobe started this match knowing that a win against the league leaders would be a real "six-point" gain as they attempted to get closer to the top of the table, and the team started brightly, holding onto possession and spraying passes all over the field as they looked for the early goal. But, completely against the run of play a long aimless ball from visiting captain Toshihiro Aoyama bounced between Kim Seung-gyu in goal and Theerathon, and the Thai international left back's touch actually took it away from his 'keeper and gave Patric an open goal to score, giving his team a surprise 1-0 lead in the 15th minute.
The referee had, sadly, allowed a few rough challenges on Vissel's star Spaniard and, while the official took no action, when yellow cards would not have been out of the question, Andres Iniesta took it all in his stride and let his magic feet do the talking, and Sanfrecce weren't ahead for long, though, as Iniesta scored a world class goal for the second game in-a-row when he blasted home a right foot shot from the edge of the area after bamboozling the three defenders between him and the goal. Vissel were deservedly level less than two minutes after going behind sending the majority of the 25,000-plus crowd into a frenzy.
Despite having a much higher percentage of possession and way outnumbering their visitors in the completed passing department, Vissel could not quite get that finishing touch and, in fact allowed Patric another half chance before the break that could have seen the home team go behind. 1-1 at the break.
Captain Lukas Podolski and his players came out for the 2nd half with just as much determination as in the first period and , again, their passing game was excellent to watch but the best chance created saw Yuta Goke slip in the goal area - as the final pass came to give him the shot - when the space had been made and the chance created. Wellington also had numerous half chances, including the best of them in the 75th minute, but just could not finish today. The big man had picked up a yellow card in the 55th minute, to add to Naoyuki Fujita's 31st minute yellow, while Yuta Goke also found his way into the referee's notebook. Unbelievably, considering the foul play of the visitors, it was the 89th minute before Yuki Nogami became the only Sanfrecce player to see a card.
And so, it was not to be for Vissel today, as Sanfrecce held on for the point to stay 16 points ahead of 4th-placed Vissel Kobe.
Team - Kim, Mihara, Osaki, Watanabe, Theerathon, Fujita, Podolski (Tanaka, 89), Goke (Otsuki, 85), Iniesta, Furuhashi (Mita, 74), Wellington
Andres Iniesta (17')