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Soccer-Kobe accepted underdog status on Yokohama's road to victory

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Tokyo — Vissel Kobe Manager Takayuki Yoshida said his players are accepting their status as outsiders in the Asian Champions League in order to oust J1 League leaders Yokohama F. Marinos from the Continental Club Championship on Thursday. 14}

Kobe, who has struggled in the Japanese league standings for most of the season, put aside his poor form to qualify for the quarter on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to Kevin Muscat's Marinos at Saitama Stadium. Securing advance ・Final lottery.

"We came here as underdogs, but I told the players that it wouldn't be a problem," Yoshida said. "It's about having nothing to lose.

"The players demonstrated that on the pitch and they really challenged us in this match. I think it will help us in the tournament and then in the remaining two games of the league.”

Kobe said that for almost 20 years, Hiroshi Mikitani, owner of Japanese online retainer Rakuten Despite giving the club a lot of money, it has struggled to consistently establish itself among the elite of Japanese and Asian football.

They are currently third from the bottom in the J1 League, and despite regularly attracting attention both domestically and internationally, they are one of his top performers in the 2019 Emperor's Cup. I only have one trophy.

Spain's World Cup winner Andrés Iniesta is Kobe's most famous player, but the 38-year-old's declining fitness credibility has led to injuries and poor health. has prevented other players from stepping up to lead the team.

Yoshida was his fourth coach at the club since the season began in mid-February, and the constant changing touchlines didn't help either.

Despite these issues, Kobe picked himself up against Marinos and delivered an efficient and effective performance to move one step closer to an Asian title.

Kobe will join two-time champion Jeonbuk Motors in the quarter-final draw after he beat fellow South Korean side Daegu FC 2-1 in overtime.

Hong Kong's Kitchy will face Thailand's BG Pathum United while Japan's Urawa Reds his Diamonds face Malaysian champions Johor Darul his Tajim in the remaining round of 16 on Friday. .

"It was a tough match for the entire 90 minutes, but we were able to get this result because the team worked together on offense and defense," said Kobe captain Hotaru Yamaguchi. .

"That really helped me win this game." (Reporting by Michael Church, Tokyo, Editing by Stephen Coates)