2018/12/1 Vissel Kobe 3-2 Vegalta Sendai

Vissel Kobe 3-2 Vegalta Sendai

Vissel Kobe 3-2 Vegalta Sendai

Vissel Kobe went into their final game of the season with nothing to play for after a season that promised so much. They were 1-0 up at the break, and it could have been so much more. Then they saw themselves 3-0 up just after the hour mark and it seemed that the team were toying with their opponents. Some moves and flicks were unnecessarily audacious as the attacking players seemed to be trying to do tricks and create space with a little magic to please the crowd, as opposed to going for more goals. This almost came back to haunt them as, in the latter stages Vegalta pulled two goals back, but the three points for the home team were never really in any doubt from the kick off in this game.

The youth were given their head again in this match, with Daiya Maekawa again starting in goal, while Daiki Miya and Yuta Goke also got the call today and, of course Kyogo Furuhashi was up front alongside Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski. It was Podolski who almost opened the scoring in the 14th minute after an exchange of passes opened up the defence. Vegalta 'keeper Daniel Scmidt got down low to save his team - not for the last time in this match!

It was Furuhashi, though, who got the breakthrough, after more good work from Podolski and a right wing cross from Masatoshi Mihara. Goke got his head to the ball, but it was Furuhashi stopping at the far post to make sure the ball went in, scoring his 5th of the season for Vissel - and his 16th overall, counting his FC Gifu goals earlier in the year.

The next chance fell to Iniesta who, after good work from Theerathon, found space to curl a shot past the goalkeeper, only to see it come back off the post. Podolski was on hand for the rebound but Schmidt again made the save. Vegalta then found themselves a man down before the half time whistle after Hiroaki Okuno came in with a late tackle on Podolski to see his second yellow card. Never the break came with Vissel just that single goal ahead. The home team soon doubled their lead in the second period, though, with Iniesta slamming the ball into the roof of the net after a brilliant interchange with Furuhashi split the defence yet again. 2-0 and Vissel seemed to be cruising and that third goal soon came, emphasising how on top Vissel were. Furuhashi advanced into the area but couldn't quite get his shot off but Theerathon was there to follow-up and his shot was blocked at the near post. The rebound fell to Hirotaka Mita who added to the shot count but it was Goke who nipped in to back-flick the ball past the defender and the 'keeper as they shaped to block Mita's effort!
Vissel then proceeded to spread passes around the field and over-elaborate as they looked for the perfect goal, as opposed to taking the many chances to shoot that they had and, in doing so, allowed Vegalta to suddenly get back into the game as the clock ticked down, but goals from Ramon Lopes and Ryo Germain, very much against the run of play, were not enough and Vissel ended the season with a well-deserved three points. The table showed a 10th place finish for Vissel in 2018 and they will definitely be looking to improve on that in 2019. Helping with that target will be Spanish international David Villa, who was announced as a Vissel Kobe player at half time with a YouTube video release, after he had been seen waving to the fans inside the stadium!

Team - Maekawa, Mihara (Fujitani 35'), Osaki, Miya, Theerathon, Goke, Mita, Fujita, Podolski, Furuhashi, Iniesta

Goals:Kyogo FURUHASHI 34',Andres INIESTA 53',Yuta GOKE 63'

Attendance: 24,517

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