Soccer

Ito makes long-awaited debut for Hamburg

Kyodo

Former Kashiwa Reysol youth player Tatsuya Ito made his long-awaited German Bundesliga debut Sunday, coming on as a second-half substitute in Hamburg SV’s 3-0 away defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.

But the big day for the 20-year-old Japanese, who joined Hamburg youth academy in July 2015 and had been playing for the under-19 team, was overshadowed by Lucas Alario, another league debutant who scored in his first game in a Leverkusen shirt.

Ito came off the bench in the 82nd minute at left midfield while Hamburg teammate Gotoku Sakai played the full 90 minutes, but neither was able to help Hamburg from falling to a fourth straight defeat.

“I was thinking, ‘finally this day has come,’ ” Ito said. “I have come this far to play at the professional level. I thought I would be moved (by my debut), but we lost, so unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way.”