FRANKFURT – Makoto Hasebe converted a late penalty to break a scoreless deadlock and net his first goal of the season Sunday in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-0 win over Darmstadt at home.
Hasebe opened the scoring in the 74th minute after Frankfurt defender Jesus Vallejo was fouled in the area before Ante Rebic added a second goal in the 83rd at Commerzbank Arena to help Frankfurt move back up to third in the Bundesliga standings.
“It was the first time (I have taken a penalty) in a league game. I was nervous,” said Hasebe, whose versatility allows him to play as a defensive midfielder and at center back.
“I’m given an important role. It’s rewarding, but it comes with the responsibility of having to live up to (manager Niko Kovac’s) expectations.”
Hasebe, who made his German debut in February 2008, is three short of Yasuhiko Okudera’s Bundesliga record (234) for most appearances by a Japanese player.
In Waregem, Belgium, Yuya Kubo scored his second goal in as many matches in Gent’s 1-1 draw with Zulte-Waregem.
Kubo was brought down by the goalkeeper in the box and then walked to the spot to slot a 69th-minute goal, but the teams shared the points after Zulte-Waregem defender Henrik Dalsgaard scrambled home an equalizer with one minute left.
“Personally it was good (that I scored), but it would’ve been even better if the team had won,” said Kubo.
“I went in there trying to win a penalty opportunity. In cases like that you have to.”
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