Soccer

Ryota Morioka on target as Anderlecht sinks Charleroi

Kyodo

Midfielder Ryota Morioka set up Anderlecht’s first goal and scored the second in a 3-1 victory over Charleroi on Sunday in the Belgian Pro League championship playoffs.

The 27-year-old assisted on Pieter Gerkens’ 43rd-minute opener for the home side when he picked out the midfielder in the box with a chipped pass from just in front of the center circle.

Morioka put the reigning Belgian champions 2-0 ahead 12 minutes into the second half, scoring with a header from the back post following a corner kick.

Iranian international Kaveh Rezaei scored for the visitors in the 69th minute, before defensive midfielder Leander Dendoncker restored Anderlecht’s two-goal lead three minutes later.

Morioka, who transferred to Anderlecht from Belgian side Waasland-Beveren in January, is gunning for a spot in Japan head coach Akira Nishino’s squad for the World Cup starting in Russia in June.

The former Vissel Kobe playmaker said he aims to continue his match-winning form in second-placed Anderlecht’s “most important match” against playoff leaders Club Brugge on Sunday.

“I want to continue creating chances with my movement, and keep moving like this every game,” Morioka said.

In the Austrian first division, Takumi Minamino bagged his seventh goal of the season for Red Bull Salzburg as the league leaders beat St. Polten 2-0 away.

The playmaker struck three minutes into the second half to double the lead after midfielder Amadou Haidara opened the scoring for the visitors in the 19th minute.

In the Spanish first division, winger Takashi Inui said he will leave Eibar at the end of the season. The 29-year-old made the announcement following the club’s 0-0 draw with Valencia.

“I made the decision on my own to leave Eibar at the end of the season. I’m sad the end is approaching, but with three matches left, I want to leave with good results,” Inui said.

The former Cerezo Osaka and Yokohama F. Marinos player has appeared in all but three of Eibar’s matches this season, scoring four goals and registering one assist.