Vissel Kobe’s quest for a maiden J.League 1 title came closer to reality last Friday after they had beaten defending champions and closest challengers Yokohama F. Marinos 2-0 at the Nissan Stadium.
Separated by only a point coming into the match, Vissel’s win opened a four-point gap between themselves and 2nd placed Yokohama, with only five more games to go until the end of the season.
Undeterred by a hostile Yokohama crowd, Vissel drew first blood in the 23rd minute after they were awarded a penalty following a foul on Vissel’s Yoshinori Muto within the area by Yokohama defender Eduardo.
Yuya Osako, who was tasked with taking the penalty, did what he was assigned to do superbly and confidently beat Jun Ichimori to give Vissel the lead.
Escaping his foul on Muto unpunished, Eduardo proved himself to be a thorn in Vissel’s side, constantly thwarting the men in crimson’s attacking attempts with his physical style of play.
However, it was Vissel who had the last laugh as in the 42nd minute, a Muto shot that cannoned off Eduardo’s chest led to a corner, which in turn led to Muto pouncing in a header past Ichimori to make it 2-0 for the men from Hyogo Prefecture.
No further goals were scored in the second half and Vissel left the Nissan Stadium with all three points to their name, and with it, an inch closer to the J1 title.