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Head coach Atsuhiro Miura dedicates historic AFC Champions League victory to Vissel Kobe fans

Doha: Vissel Kobe head coach Atsuhiro Miura dedicated the team’s 2-0 win over Shanghai SIPG in the 2020 AFC Champions League Round of 16 to the fans back in Japan.

Goals from former FC Barcelona man Andres Iniesta and veteran Daigo Nishi on Monday ensured the J1 League side passage to their first ever quarter-final appearance in the competition, consigning Shanghai SIPG to their fourth consecutive exit at the hands of a Japanese side.

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“We are happy that we played very well, and the players followed our instructions."

“This victory is not just for us, but for all the fans back in Japan who sent us their messages of support from Kobe," said Miura.

Round of 16: Vissel Kobe 2-0 Shanghai SIPG FC

Vissel Kobe's joy, however, was tempered by an injury Iniesta suffered which forced his substitution in the 68th minute.

"On the other side, we have a problem with Andres Iniesta’s injury. We have to wait to assess how serious the injury is.

“We have many young players too. It was a tough game and Shanghai SIPG had a lot of quality players."

"We analysed them and knew that we could control the game. The players followed the instructions and played as a unit, that helped us get the result.

“We did a lot of things in the J1 League but could not get the results. Now every team that plays in the AFC Champions League is ready to go because we prepared well," said Miura.

Despite the defeat, Shanghai SIPG boss Vitor Perreira believed his men did their best on the night having played six group stage matches since arriving to Qatar just over three weeks earlier.

“The players did not have the energy to continue playing at the same level,” said Perreira.

“Today my players were trying their best but we felt the reaction, the pressing and the moves, it was all too slow because it is impossible to do it with this physical condition. This is not our normal game. We could not play in our preferred style because it is impossible to play seven games in 21 days and keep going at the same level.

“I cannot blame the players. I can only thank their efforts in this game and in the competition to try to give a good image of the club.”

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