TOSU, SAGA PREF. – Sagan Tosu proved to be too good for Vissel Kobe in the fourth round of the Emperor’s Cup on Wednesday, with a Fernando Torres goal, his first in Japan, closing out a 3-0 win.
The former Spanish national team star started the match on the bench, as did Vissel’s own high-profile Iberian Andres Iniesta, but it was the former who went home with bragging rights, bagging an 84th-minute goal to put the match beyond doubt.
“It is normal, (when you) get to a new place,” said Torres when asked about his relatively long wait for his first goal in Japan. “The main thing is to be strong as a team.”
A Vissel own goal opened the scoring in the 37th minute at Tosu Stadium and it was Hirofumi Watanabe who was left hanging his head in disappointment.
The Vissel defender was unable to get out of the way of a cross fizzed in from the left by Sagan’s Hiromu Mitsumaru, the diminutive defender having been put in space by a nifty pass from Akito Fukuta.
The second goal came on the 50-minute mark, when Watanabe was unable to deal with a through ball that fell between himself and Kazuki Anzai.
The Sagan defender slid in and got the outside of his left boot to the ball, slotting it between Watanabe and the goalkeeper.
The 56th-minute insertion of Iniesta had a big impact as he began pulling the strings from his customary spot in central midfield, but not even his sublime skills could stop Vissel from unraveling.
Torres’ goal came on the back of a special turn on the byline by Fukuta. The 26-year-old duped a Vissel defender with a brilliant piece of skill, laying the ball off for Torres who slotted across the keeper and onto the inside of the right upright.
“It was a great play by Akito, I just had to put the ball out of the reach of the goalkeeper,” Torres said.