KENYA BROWN - Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Leo Osaki and Vissel Kobe bagged their first win of the new J1 League season while Mix Diskerud and Ulsan Hyundai kicked their season off with a win in South Korea.
David Villa scored the lone goal of the game as big-spending Vissel Kobe came away with a 1-0 win over Sagan Tosu to get their quest for the J1 League crown off the ground.
Leo Osaki started the game in central defense for Kobe and played the full 90 minutes as the star-studded team looks to improve on last season's performance.
It was a tight first half, with Kobe's new signing David Villa coming close to scoring his first goal in the Japanese twice, the latter one came crashing off the bar. At the other end, former Spanish international Fernando Torres had a chance from just inside the area that just sailed wide of the post.
The host would find the only goal of the game in the 54th minute when a long ball from Hotaru Yamaguchi was directed towards Villa. However, in the ensuing clearance, the ball bounced off the leg of a Sagan Tosu defender an into the path of the Spanish forward, who calmly slotted his shot past goalkeeper Takuo Okubo.
Both teams pushed for goals, but Kobe was able to hold on for the win in the end.
Vissel Kobe moves up to ninth place in the standings with their first points of the season.
In other J League action, Ryo Germain came off the bench for Vegalta Sendai, but could not get on the score sheet in their 2-1 loss to Yokohama F. Marinos.
Down in the J2 League, Cayman Togashi started for FC Machida Zelvia as they narrowly lost to Kashiwa Reysol in a 1-0 contest.
Ulsan Hyundai scored in both halves and did enough to hold off a comeback from the opposition as they came away with a 2-1 win over the Suwon Bluewings in the opening day of the K League 1 season.
Mix Diskerud started the game for the Tigers before coming off in the 77th minute.
A couple of Americans have found themselves playing in Vietnam's top tier this season.
Sidney Rivera was in the starting lineup for Than Quang Ninh as they shared the points with Song Lam Nghe An following a 0-0 tie.
Victor Mansaray did not dress for Binh Duong in their 3-1 win over Da Nang.
Chris Cortez, who signed with Thai Leauge 1 team Chonburi during the winter transfer window, is currently on loan with Ayutthaya United in Thai League 2. He started for the team in their 3-2 loss to Khonkaen.