19.02.2020 14:07 h

Iniesta sparks Kobe to late win in Asian Champions League

Barcelona great Andres Iniesta set up a last-minute winner as Japan's Vissel Kobe beat Suwon Bluewings 1-0 to stay perfect in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Teruhito Nakagawa and Ado Onaiwu plundered two apiece as Yokohama F-Marinos thrashed Sydney FC 4-0 to emulate their J-League rivals Kobe with two wins out of two in the coronavirus-hit competition.

Iniesta, 35, was quiet for much of the night in Suwon but he finally unlocked the defence with a through-ball to Gotoku Sakai, whose cross was met first-time by Kyogo Furuhashi.

It was far from Kobe's swashbuckling Champions League introduction last week, when they became the first Japanese team to score five goals on debut with a 5-1 hammering of Johor Darul Ta'zim.

But it was enough to give Kobe an early grip on Group G in a competition missing most Chinese teams so far after their entry was delayed until April by the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, Onaiwu sparked a home rout for Japanese champions Yokohama after just 12 minutes, turning to smash a deflected, left-foot shot past Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne from the edge of the box.

Nakagawa bagged the first of his quickfire double with an exquisite chip on the half-hour mark to double Yokohama's advantage before effectively killing the tie in his team's next attack.

The pint-sized winger pounced on a clever pass from Thai Theerathon Bunmathan to wriggle free and score with a clinical close-range finish as the visitors, by some distance the A-League's best side, fell apart.

A die-hard Liverpool fan, Yokohama coach Ange Postecoglou, who led Australia to their first Asian Cup title in 2015, has brought his own version of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp's high, counter-pressing style to the J-League, and his hardworking team squeezed the life out of Sydney.

They continued to suffocate the Aussies after the break and Onaiwu grabbed his second of the night five minutes after the restart, tapping home following a slick exchange between Keita Endo and the industrious Marcos Junior.

Yokohama, who beat South Korea's Jeonbuk Motors 2-1 last week in their Group H opener, never seriously looked like conceding as they gave the A-League leaders a reality check in the Asian competition.

In Suwon, neither side could gain the ascendancy in the first half with Douglas and Thomas Vermaelen both heading over for Kobe and Yang Sang-min doing the same at the other end.

Kobe's Leo Osaki nearly bundled a cross into his own goal just before half-time and Suwon's Han Eui-gwon fired into the side netting in what were the game's closest chances before Furuhashi's goal.