Vissel Kobe is struggling to establish itself in the elite of Japanese and Asian football despite the money spent for two decades by Hiroshi Mikitani, the owner of the online trading platform Rakuten. He is still trailing in the play-off position (16th) in the Japanese Championship after the 25th of the 34 days of the season. But his achievement this Friday in the Asian Champions League could finally change the way we look at the club where evolves the ex-Barça player Andrés Iniesta.
Without their 38-year-old Spanish star, in poor shape and remaining on the bench, Vissel Kobe qualified for the quarter-finals by dominating (3-2) the leader of the J-League, Yokohama F. Marinos, the team of the car manufacturer Nissan, which is also part of the City Football Group galaxy (20% of the capital).
In this 100% Japanese confrontation disputed in the suburbs of Tokyo, Vissel made the break thanks to Yutaro Oda (3-1, 82nd) and trembled until the end after the reduction of the score of the Brazilian Anderson Lopes (3-2 , 89th).