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Sakai: Change in gameplan proved the breakthrough


Friday, February 21, 2020
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Suwon: Vissel Kobe star Gotoku Sakai revealed that it was some words between himself and goalscorer Kyogo Furuhashi that resulted in the late winner as the J.League side edged Suwon Samsung Bluewings 1-0 on Wednesday.


Having put five goals past Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim in their AFC Champions League debut on Matchday One, it was a far different test for Vissel Kobe at Suwon World Cup Stadium with two-time Continental champions Suwon proving a tough hurdle to scale.

Indeed, a goalless stalemate looked the most likely outcome until an incisive Sakai run and cross from the left found Furuhashi sliding in to stab home in stoppage time.

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"It was a difficult match away from home, especially in the first half we really saw the boost the crowd gave our opponents," said Sakai, who returned to Japan last summer following seven years in the German Bundesliga.

"But we knew to expect this and the coach had prepared us well, so it wasn't a surprising situation.

"As the match went on, we told the defenders if we could avoid conceding there was a chance for us to create something up front."

Group G - MD2: Suwon Samsung Bluewings 0-1 Vissel Kobe

Creating chances, however, proved to be easier said than done, admitted the former Japan full-back, with Suwon intent on avoiding the same traps that had befallen Johor Darul Ta'zim.

"Further up the field, the opponents were sitting tight and we didn't know quite how to break them down," admitted Sakai.

"We were moving the ball around and sometimes the way we lost it wasn't good and we were threatened on the counter. I didn't feel that it was a situation that would get better over time."

"So I told Kyogo [Furuhashi] during the game, 'It doesn't matter if you lose the ball, start taking them on one-on-one.'"

"From about the 80-minute mark I started cutting inside and Kyogo opened them up outside and with that mutual understanding, and the opponents beginning to tire, we were able to create the one chance and score.

"Therefore, after the game I said to him, 'See, I told you!' I am pleased the game went the way we had thought."

FULL-TIME | 🇰🇷 @bluewingsfc 0-1 @visselkobe 🇯🇵

⌛ They waited until the very end but Kyogo Furuhashi's late goal saw Vissel Kobe make it two wins from two in Group G of #ACL2020 pic.twitter.com/llbh5OsmH6

— #ACL2020 (@TheAFCCL) February 19, 2020

"It's a very good experience for the team to be able to modify our tactics and come out with a win from a match like this."

Vissel Kobe are scheduled to next face China PR's Guangzhou Evergrande on April 7 in a tie that would reunite former FC Barcelona midfielders Andres Iniesta and Paulinho.

Suwon, meanwhile, will face Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim on March 3.

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