Iniesta’s Japanese debut falls flat | 2018-07-23 |

Iniesta’s Japanese debut falls flat

Afp, Kobe     23 July, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Spanish legend Andres Iniesta’s Japanese debut ended on a flat note Sunday as Vissel Kobe crashed to an embarrassing 3-0 home defeat by J-League strugglers Shonan Bellmare.

The former Barcelona playmaker came off the bench after 58 minutes with Kobe already trailing by two goals and, despite one or two trademark flicks, was unable to inspire a comeback in front of a crowd of 26,000.

Expectant fans, many of them clutching Spain flags, were disappointed to learn that Iniesta had been named among the substitutes for his first game since joining Kobe in the summer.

The 34-year-old’s first touch was a silky turn on the halfway line, releasing team mate Takuya Yasui, who promptly gave the ball straight to an opponent, underlining the gulf in class between the J-League and La Liga.