Vissel Kobe eased past local rivals Gamba Osaka 4-0 at home Saturday, rising to the top of the J. League standings with their third straight win to open the new season.

Gotoku Sakai hit a brace, while fellow former Japan internationals and Bundesliga returnees Yuya Osako and Yoshinori Muto also scored at Noevir Stadium for Vissel, who flirted with relegation last year but have scored eight goals while conceding one so far this term.

After going 11 straight games without a win to start last season, Kobe's fortunes turned following the appointment last June of manager Takayuki Yoshida, in charge of the club for the third time.