Friday was the first day of the season in Japan. Cerezo were playing Vissel Kobe in the showpiece Friday night TV fixture. I think the reason for this is that Vissel have signed David Villa in the summer and now have a front 3 of Iniesta, Podalski and Villa. A tough test for Cerezo.

I went with colleagues from my school. Everyone was quite excited but the Cerezo fans were a little bit concerned. They shouldn’t have been. Cerezo won 1-0. The game was very tight for 60 minutes before it opened up as Vissel started pressing forward more and Cerezo started making good chances on the counter attack.

Podalski in particular hasn’t faired too well in Japan. He’s only scored 12 goals in 2 seasons. Iniesta looks better but Japanese football is quite slow and conservative with less risk taking than in Europe. Plus Japanese players tend to quite skillful so defenders aren’t completely new to that type of player. As soon as he gets near to the box he gets closed down very quickly. I guess the jury is still out on Villa.

The following are some highlights from the match. Not all of the chances are shown. Cerezo had a very good chance toward the end and Podalski put one in row Z by the corner flag in the first half (maybe the video editor was trying to spare his blushes).