MILAN, Italy – Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo made his eagerly anticipated debut at the San Siro in Inter Milan’s 5-3 win over 10-man AS Roma on Sunday, while teenage striker Ryo Miyaichi also got his first taste of action for Feyenoord in a 1-1 draw away to Michihiro Yasuda’s Vitesse Arnhem.
Nagatomo, who joined Inter on loan from Cesena for the rest of the season just before the close of the winter transfer window, showed off his trademark attacking runs and looked comfortable after coming on at left back for midfielder Wesley Sneijder with 15 minutes left.
“It was really exciting, just as I expected,” Nagatomo said of his debut. “I was thinking I really, really want to be on the pitch from the first half and I kept hoping that the coach would pick up on that.”
“There are good things about Cesena and I love the club but the San Siro is really something else. Going on the pitch was just mind-blowing,” added the 24-year-old.
Although Nagatomo gave a satisfactory account of himself, the former FC Tokyo star admitted he needed more time to build up an understanding with his fellow defenders.
“I think things will get much better,” said Nagatomo, who played a pivotal role in Japan’s Asian Cup triumph last month.
“I have only really trained properly twice. Gradually I will be able to work out what everyone’s strengths are.”
Sneijder opened the scoring in the third minute only for the visitors to hit back in the 13th minute through Fabio Simplicio.
Inter looked to be in control thanks to a double from Samuel Eto’o and a 71st-minute effort from Thiago Motta but Roma, which had Nicolas Burdisso sent off just after the hour mark, refused to roll over and goals from Mirko Vucinic and Simone Loria pulled it back to 4-3 before Estban Cambiasso sealed victory for Inter with a late fifth.
In the Dutch top flight, Miyaichi, who joined Feyenoord on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season, was unable to mark his debut with a goal but looked lively and put in a solid 90 minutes.
“I’m delighted to have made my debut,” said Miyaichi. “I think I made the grade with my quick dribbling and the things I am good at so I’m pleased.”