Vissel Kobe have won their first Japanese J-League title in five months after the departure of veteran FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, 39.

Vissel Kobe defeated the Nagoya Grampus 2-1 in the 33rd round of the 2023 J-League on Friday in Kobe, 텍사스홀덤 Hyogo Prefecture, to clinch first place regardless of the outcome of their one remaining match. Their previous best finish in the J-League was second in 2013.

Vissel Kobe, led by head coach Takayuki Yoshida, has improved since the departure of Andres Iniesta to the United Arab Emirates club in August, and the team has won the title, foreign media reported.

“I have never experienced such happiness,” said team captain Hotaru Yamaguchi. My emotions started to show five minutes before the final whistle. I’m really happy.”

Vissel Kobe has 20 wins, 8 draws and 5 losses (68 points) through 33 rounds, overtaking Yokohama F Marinos (19 wins, 7 draws and 64 points).

Former Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, who joined Kobe from Galatasaray of Turkkiye in September, was named on the substitutes’ bench but did not play.

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