East Asia Japan

Podolski scores twice in J1 League debut to earn Vissel Kobe an important win

German striker Lukas Podolski scored twice in his J1 League debut on Saturday as his side Vissel Kobe beat Omiya Ardija 3-1.

Podolski put the home side in front with a left-foot shot from outside the box just four minutes after the break.

Marcelo Toscano equalized in the 60th minute, but the former World Cup winner put his side back in the lead just four minutes later.

Hideo Tanaka completed the win for Kobe with a drill from a similar distance the first goal of his German teammate.

Podolski moved to Kobe from Turkish club Galatasaray after signing a deal estimated to be worth of $5.3 million.

He is considered the highest-profile J League import since Uruguay striker Diego Forlan, who played for Cerezo Osaka from 2014-15.

With this win, ninth-place Kobe improved to 29 points, with 12 behind leaders Cerezo Osaka.