Andrés Iniesta’s 2021 campaign got off to a delayed start as he battled injury, but he finally made his debut in May and now he’s banging in goals to lead a surging Vissel Kobe.
Iniesta began a special week with a starring performance in the second leg of the 2021 J.LEAGUE YBC Levain CUP Play-off Stage. The Spaniard spent much of the match dictating the pace with his trademark brilliant passing, but he really made his mark in the 77th minute.
Vissel earned a free kick from 20 yards out, which Iniesta stepped to and hit an absolute rocket into the top corner that left the goalkeeper no chance.
Unfortunately for Iniesta and Vissel, the goal was not enough for them to advance in the competition, but he made sure his next goal would be a winner.
Vissel visited Avispa Fukuoka in a fifth-versus-sixth place battle, with the winner moving right onto the heels of the top four and a coveted AFC Champions League place. Vissel struck first, just two minutes in, but Avispa answered quickly and the match looked set for a draw—until Iniesta got involved.
The superstar clipped a cheeky chipped pass for Gotoku Sakai that unraveled the Avispa defense and the subsequent cross hit a hand for a penalty kick. Iniesta was given the chance to win the match from the spot and, well, he did what Iniesta does.
Just like that, Vissel were match-winners and up to fifth in the table.
Vissel may have had to wait for Iniesta’s season to start, but he’s kicking on now and in great form. With him at the heart of their midfield, this may just be the start of what could be a special season in Kobe.