Ienaga finds net in Mallorca draw

Kyodo

Akihiro Ienaga struck his first goal in the Spanish first division Saturday as Mallorca drew 2-2 at home to Sevilla.

Ienaga opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a header by the far post for Mallorca, which picked up a point to go 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

Ienaga was happy with his goal, but lamented the fact that Mallorca allowed Sevilla to equalize in the 67th minute after Jonathan de Guzman put the hosts up 2-1 on 41 minutes.

“I just happened to be on the end of a great cross. I’m glad I managed to put it away,” said Ienaga, formerly of Gamba and Cerezo Osaka. “But it was a match we should have won.”

The Japan midfielder started on the right wing for manager Michael Laudrup before coming off in the final minute. Laudrup, who played for Vissel Kobe from 1996 to 1997, said Ienaga will get better as the season wears on.

“He’s still at a point where he’s adjusting to the Spanish League,” said Laudrup. “By the end of the season, he’ll be on the same level as all the other players.”