After the six-year reign of Susumu Watanabe, Vegalta Sendai started this season under a new manager: Takashi Kiyama. The former Yamagata boss demands hard work from his team: defending with high intensity and attacking speedily will at be the core of this year’s Vegalta.
Confidence in their defense comes from the presence of Simão Mate and Jakub Słowik. The back line is reinforced by Brazilian left defender Pará, who replace Katsuya Nagato. Unfortunately, in the offensive department, new signing Isaac Cuenca suffered a serious injury before the season opener. However, Sendai announced the return of striker Takuma Nishimura, who is expected to improve their firepower.
They drew 1-1 with Nagoya Grampus on the opening day, but as players have now a better understanding of the new manager’s tactics, Vegalta Sendai have the potential to take a big step forward towards the rest of the season.
A strong center-back from Mozambique, Simão joined Vegalta last season, after playing in several countries, including Greece and Spain. He is not particularly tall for a center back; however, he has great capability to shut out opponents with his powerful defending. He is also known for his excellent leadership, which was rewarded by an appointment as captain for this season.
Nishimura is a no-nonsense type of striker who has returned to Sendai after playing in Russia and Portugal for a year and a half. His typical goal features great instinct and high-quality finishing. Nishimura aims to score several goals in this J.League season to show how his experience in Europe made him a better player.