0 Min: Welcome to today’s liveblog. Sagan Tosu, promoted to J.League Division 1 for the first time in their history, welcome Vissel Kobe to the Tosu Stadium in Saga Prefecture. I’ll have team news for you shortly.
0 Min: Sagan Tosu – Akaohoshi; Niwa, Kobayashi, Yeo, Isozaki; Okamoto, Fujita, Mizunuma, Kim; Ikeda, Toyoda
0 Min: Vissel Kobe – Tokushige; Kondo, Inoha, Takagi, Soma; Hashimoto, Tanaka, Park, Nozawa; Yoshida, Okubo
0 Min: A change apiece for Sagan Tosu and Vissel Kobe, both in the midfield. Tomotaka Okamoto replaces Yoshiki Takahashi for Sagan, while Kang Jo Park comes in for Masatoshi Mihara for Vissel.
0 Min: While we’re counting down until kick-off, you can enjoy the highlights of a previous meeting between the two teams here.
0 Min: The teams are out of the tunnel and on to the field, pre-match photographs and handshakes complete. We’re just moments away from kick-off, captains Naoyuki Fujita and Takayuki Yoshida contesting the coin toss.
0 Mins And at 11:04 BST/19:04 Japan time, the whistle blows to get the match underway.
2 Mins: The first shot comes from Kei Ikeda for Sagan Tosu taking a long ball on the chest, and turning and volleying from 25 yards. A reasonable effort that clears the ball by a couple of feet.
3 Mins: Left back Min-Woo Kim is brought down by Gakuto Kondo having beaten him with pace, and Fujita’s free-kick is headed away for a corner. The corner subsequently fails to beat the first defender, and Vissel clear.
5 Mins: Potential danger for Vissel as a long ball causes panic in the defence, but Kei Ikeda attempts to handle and the referee pulls play back for the offence.
6 Mins: A frenetic opening to the match, Vissel now attempting to control possession and slowing play down.
7 mins: POST! Min Woo Kim’s header hits the post from Toyoda’s cross, who was superbly found from Kota Mizunuma’s angled ball from the right-hand side, and the rebound is luckily deflected for a corner. The corner yet again fails to beat the first defender.
9 Mins: Super defending from Sung Hye Yeo to clear an arkward cross from the Vissel right, Yoshida and Okubo both lurking in the penalty area.
10 Mins: Hideo Hashimoto drills a low long range effort wide of Akahoshi’s right-hand post, after Okubo is crowded out on the edge of the penalty area.
11 Mins: A much better corner from Sagan Tosu, but an infringement in the penalty area for pushing means the opportunity is lost.
13 Mins: Takayuki brings down a swept cross from the right on his chest, and with Fujita’s potential handball missed by the referee, his shot is weak and straight at goalkeeper Akahoshi who easily saves. Takayuki’s appeal for handball, however, was muted.
15 Mins: Yohei Toyoda does brilliantly to dispossess Takahito Soma and his low cross is met first time by Kota Mizunuma, but he fails to connect properly. A superb chance for Sagan Tosu goes begging.
19 Mins: Takuya Nozawa flights a good cross from the Vissel left, headed behind by Keita Isozaki for Vissel Kobe’s first corner. Nozawa’s corner is headed away at the near post, finding left-back Takahito Soma central on the edge of the penalty area, but his effort is poor and cleared.
22 Mins: Injury worries for Sagan Tosu as Keita Isozaki stays down in obvious discomfort. Isozaki is carried off the pitch, with midfielder Ryunosuke Noda to come on.
25 Mins: The commentator ridiculously suggests that neither side has had a clear opportunity to score.
26 Mins: Yoshito Kubo forces Vissel Kobe’s second corner. Nozawa sends a right-footed cross over, but it’s a very crowded penalty. Defender Kazumichi Takagi rises to meet the cross but it’s behind him, and both from distance and unable to generate sufficient power, the header plops into goalkeeper Akahoshi’s hands.
27 Mins: GOAL! (Masahiko Inoha – Own Goal) Noda’s very first touch is to divert a cross towards the goal from the left edge of the penalty area, which unsighted defender Masahiko Inoha deflects into the net via his arm for an own goal.
27 Mins Sagan Tosu 1 Vissel Kobe 0
31 Mins: The goal is little more than Sagan deserve and certainly in keeping with the balance of play.
35 Mins: Into the last 10 minutes of the first period, Mizunuma plays a pass to Yohei Toyoda, and holding the ball up well with his back to goal, he turns and shoots, blocked by Masahiko Inoha for a corner. Yet again the corner fails to clear the first defender. Sagan Tosu’s corners must improve.
38 Mins: Vissel Kobe have another corner. Nozawa steps up to take from the Vissel right, swung in to the edge of the Sagan penalty area, but they have large numbers back and it’s easily cleared.
43 Mins: GOAL! (Yohei Toyoda) Hideo Hashimoto appered to have been bundled over for Vissel, but the referee fails to award the free kick. A quick break for Sagan Tosu releases Kota Mizunuma down the right-wing, and his low cross is met by Yohei Toyoda from eight yards and he sweeps the ball, via a deflection off Masahiko Inoha’s head, into the roof of the net.
43 Mins: Sagan Tosu 2 Vissel Kobe 0
45 Mins: We’re into added time at the end of the first half.
45 Mins+2 And that’s half-time. There’s plenty for Vissel manager Masahiro Wada to worry about, as his team have failed to break down a very well-organised Sagan Tosu defence.
45 Mins: Back underway, and a chipped throughball from Kei Ikeda finds Kota Mizunuma, who wins a corner. Taken by Min Woo Kim, it’s another awful corner, and fails to clear the first defender.
47 Mins: Yoshito Okubo tries from 24 yards in a central position, but his swerving effort is met with a strong hand from Akaohoshi to put the ball behind for a corner. The corner is cleared.
49 Mins: A brilliant move from Sagan Tosu’s defence is so close to being a third, and really should have been. Interplay between Ryusuke Noda and Min Woo Kim sees Kim pull the ball back across the area but Kei Ikeda misconnects from just six yards.
53 Mins: Yoshida beats two players on the edge of the Sagan Tosu penalty area, but with three teammates in better positions, he chooses to shoot left-footed which is very high, and very wide.
53 Mins: Captain Takayuki Yoshida is replaced by Hiroto Mogio for Vissel Kobe.
55 Mins: Ryosuke Noda this time has the opportunity to score Sagan’s third, but bearing down on the keeper after a lovely lofted throughball from Yohei Toyoda, he can only send his shot straight at Kenta Tokushige. Either side of the Vissel goalkeeper and that would have been three.
58 Mins: If the result does not go Sagan Tosu’s way, they will be left cursing their profligacy.
58 Mins: Yoshito Okubo is in a dangerous area to the right of the penalty area, but he is expertly challenged by Sung-Hye Yeo.
60 Mins: A Kenta Mizunuma cross is just too high for Kei Ikeda, and the return ball from the right-hand side finds Ikeda in an offside position.
61 Mins: Min-Woo Kim angles a ball from the left, which is just out of reach of Kei Ikeda’s attempted lunging volley.
64 Mins: Nozawa standing over a free-kick from 40 yards on the Vissel left, but Sagan’s defence is resolute. They break with Min-Woo Kim running 40 yards, but his pass to Ikeda is cut out by Gakuto Kondo.
65 Mins: A potential triumph of youth over experience? The average age of this Sagan Tosu side is 25, compared to over 30 for Vissel. And a moment of youthful stupidity from Yohei Toyoda gets him booked, failed to retreat at a free-kick.
70 Mins: Yoshito Okuba misses a gilt-edged chance to bring Vissel back into the match. Hideo Tanaka pulled the ball back for him to fire unmarked from 18 yards, but he sends it well over the bar.
72 Mins: Always rising and under pressure, Yohei Toyoda bends a shot narrowly over the angle after a quick break for Sagan Tosu.
75 Mins: Takuya Nozawa picks up a ball from 25 yards, but his effort is to the right of Akahoshi’s post, who probably had the effort covered.
75 Mins: Second substitution for Sagan Tosu, Kota Mizunama, who has been excellent, replaced by Shohei Okada.
76 Mins: Chesting the ball down from a Takuya Nozawa header, Yoshito Okuba has a chance in the Sagan Tosu penalty area, but before he can get his shot away Teruaki Kobayashi throws himself in front of the ball, and goalkeeper Akahoshi follows up. The goalkeeper has injured himself in the resulting collision.
78 Mins: Vissel take the opportunity to make a change, Hideo Hashimoto making way for Kwang-Seon Lee. Akahoshi is okay to continue after some strapping is applied to his right knee and shin.
80 Mins: Entering the last 10 minutes of normal time, but there will be reasonable amount of stoppage time to play. Vissel have a free-kick, to be taken by Nozawa, deep into Sagan territory on the touchline. Goalkeeper Akaohshi punches unconvincingly clear, and Nozawa wins another corner off Ryuhei Niwa.
82 Mins: The corner from Nozawa is to the back post, but the header back is claimed by Akahoshi.
84 Mins: The ball bobbles around the Sagan Tosu penalty box, but no Vissel player can finish the chance, and Sung-Hye Heo calmly knocks the ball away to the Sagan Tosu left. Could that be their last chance?
86 Mins: Sung-Hye Yeo is the second player into the referee’s notebook, for a seemingly innocuous challenge. A few decisions seemingly going against Sagan Tosu at the moment.
87 Mins: Sagan Tosu temporarily down to ten players as Yohei Toyada requires treatment for a blood injury.
90 Mins: Nozawa wins a corner into stoppage time. His corneer is headed away, and with the ball returned to Nozawa, his cross is claimed by Akahoshi at the second attempt.
90 Mins+1: Sagan’s final substitution, and Tomotaka Okamoto makes way for Yosuke Inuzuka.
90 Mins+2: Ryosuke Noda wins a free-kick close to the Vissel touchline, but they waste the chance to run down the clock.
90 Mins+3: Vissel’s first player to receive a yellow card is Takahiro Soma, bringing down Okada to the right of the penalty area.
90 Mins+4: GOAL! (Kei Ikeda) Sagan take a quick free-kick, Shohei Ikada sending a ball across the Vissel penalty area which is tucked away by a completely unmarked Ikeda. Awful defending from Vissel, but no more than Sagan deserve.
90 Mins+4: Sagan Tosu 3 Vissel Kobe 0
90 Mins+5: The referee draws the match to a close. An excellent, spirited and hard-working performance from Sagan Tosu, and a well-deserved 3-0 victory. Thank you for joining me, and a full match report will follow later today.