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Vissel Kobe makes history, clinches first-ever J-league title after Iniesta's departure

Posted : 25 November 2023

Vissel Kobe secured their first-ever J-League title in a historic triumph, marking a remarkable turnaround after the departure of Spanish football icon Andres Iniesta five months ago. The team's resurgence was evident under coach Takayuki Yoshida, who opted to drop Iniesta, now with Emirates Club in the UAE Pro League. The title-clinching victory came in a hard-fought 2-1 win against Nagoya Grampus, sealing the championship with a game to spare.


The captain, Hotaru Yamaguchi, expressed his unprecedented joy, stating, "I've never experienced this kind of happiness before." The emotions ran high in the final minutes before the whistle, reflecting the team's immense satisfaction with their historic achievement. Scoring duties were efficiently handled by Haruya Ide and former Newcastle striker Yoshinori Muto at the Noevir Stadium, securing the title and establishing an unassailable four-point lead over the second-placed Yokohama F Marinos.


The decision to drop Iniesta proved instrumental in Kobe's improved form, showcasing the team's ability to adapt and thrive even after the departure of a football legend. The triumphant moment solidifies Vissel Kobe's place in Japanese football history and highlights the impact of strategic coaching decisions in achieving significant milestones. Notably, former Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, a key addition to Kobe's roster in September, played a role as an unused substitute in the title-clinching match.


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