• Kyodo

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First-half goals to Kazuma Watanabe and Wellington gave Vissel Kobe a 2-0 win away to Jubilo Iwata on Saturday and secured their first J. League victory in five matches.

Vissel, who denied reports earlier in the week that they were set to sign star Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, came into the match without a league win since beating Nagoya Grampus 3-0 on April 21.

Watanabe put the visitors ahead in the 10th minute, lashing a shot from the goalmouth after the ball fell fortuitously in the aftermath of a corner.

Wellington doubled the lead 15 minutes later on a Vissel counterattack, rising above two defenders in the middle of the box to head home a Shuhei Otsuki cross.

Jubilo missed an opportunity to pull a goal back in the 68th minute when winger Daiki Ogawa had two shots saved in quick succession by Vissel goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.

The South Korea custodian again showed his class in the 85th minute, diving to his right to stop a thunderbolt from just outside the box by substitute Rikiya Uehara.

The 31-year-old Watanabe said he was happy to score his fourth goal of the campaign, but gave credit for the victory to the Vissel defense.

“The ball got knocked around after the set play, but it ended up falling nicely for me,” Watanabe said. “In the second half we were able to keep up the attack, but that was thanks to the defenders doing a great job and ensuring we kept a clean sheet.”

In other results Saturday, Shimizu S-Pulse beat Shonan Bellmare 4-2 at home despite playing the last 20 minutes with 10 men after Ko Matsubara received a second yellow card.

Kawasaki Frontale snatched a 2-1 victory away to Kashiwa Reysol after Yuto Suzuki scored the winner in the second minute of injury time.

V-Varen Nagasaki ensured another forgettable outing for Nagoya Grampus, pummeling the last-place side 3-0 at Transcosmos Stadium.

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