KOBE – Former Spain internationals David Villa and Andres Iniesta each struck twice to lead Vissel Kobe to a 5-3 home win over Nagoya Grampus in the J. League first division on Sunday.
Playing in its third league match under newly appointed head coach Thorsten Fink, Vissel was able to claim the win despite the visitors twice coming from behind to level the scoring at Noevir Stadium.
Villa fired home the opening goal in the 27th minute and netted a second-half penalty for a 4-3 lead, while Iniesta completed a second-half brace.
Despite returning to Japan only three days earlier following the birth of his fourth child in Spain, Iniesta netted two goals just six minutes apart.
He scored from just outside the penalty area to lift the home side to a 2-1 lead in the 63rd minute. Grampus goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak punched Villa’s shot on target, but the ball landed in front of Iniesta, who fired it home for his second goal of the season.
Kazuya Miyahara leveled for the visitors three minutes later, but Iniesta put the home team in front again by converting a penalty.
“It was a difficult match and our opponents played very well. But our team really tried hard because we all wanted to win in front of our fans,” Iniesta said.
“We are riding a great momentum. It’s not easy to keep winning, but I hope we can move one spot at a time in the table.”
Vissel has not lost a league match since May 18, when it suffered a 4-1 hammering at Yokohama F. Marinos.
“It was a fantastic match. I’m glad we were able to finish with the win,” said Fink, who was named head coach earlier this month. “I think everyone on the team put in a great performance today.”
In other results around the league, former Spain star Fernando Torres scored a first-half brace in Sagan Tosu’s 4-2 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse. Torres, who announced his retirement earlier this month, scored his first goal of the season in the 16th minute and netted again four minutes later.
Defending league champions Kawasaki Frontale moved up to second in the table following a 3-1 win at Jubilo Iwata, while Cerezo Osaka beat Shonan Bellmare 2-0.
At Showa Denko Dome, Oita Trinita defeated Urawa Reds 2-0 on goals from Noriaki Fujimoto and Seigo Kobayashi for the team’s first win in six matches.
At Kashima Stadium, midfielder Yoshifumi Kashiwa scored twice in Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s 2-2 draw at Kashima Antlers. Kunimitsu Sekiguchi netted the winner in Vegalta Sendai’s 2-1 win over Consadole Sapporo at Yurtec Stadium.