J-League

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Spanish legend Fernando Torres set to end playing career

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Fernando Torres is calling it a career.

The Spanish striker, 35, says he’ll announce the details Saturday, midway through Sagan Tosu’s season in Japan. The side sits dead last on the table.

It’s unclear whether he’ll finish the season with J-League club, where he has four goals and two assists in 32 games.

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A centurion with Spain, Torres played in three EUROs and three World Cups. He won two of the former to go with the 2010 World Cup triumph in South Africa, and finished his international career with 38 goals in 110 caps.

Torres scored double-digit goals four times with Atletico Madrid before earning a move to Liverpool, where he bagged 24 goals in his first Premier League season and finished third in the 2008 Ballon d’Or voting.

His production dipped massively during his fourth season in England, spent between Liverpool and Chelsea, but he notched 22 goals in all European competitions during the Blues’ tumultuous run out of the Champions League and onto the Europa League winners’ stage.

Torres was twice a member of the FIFPro World XI, and won the UCL and Europa League with Chelsea before claiming the UEL again with Atletico Madrid in 2015-16.

His return to Atletico Madrid had moments to be sure, including an 11-goal La Liga campaign in 2015-16. He also spent half a season on loan to AC Milan, where he scored once in 10 Serie A contests.

Here’s an interesting question: In which shirt will you always remember Torres? Is it the red of Spain, Liverpool, or Atletico Madrid? Or does his time of tumult in Chelsea jump to the front of the fray?

VIDEO: Goal celebration goes wrong in Japan’s J-League

Consadole Sapporo
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Anderson Lopes will now now have the most conservative goal celebrations in the world.

The Brazilian striker had himself quite the day for new club Consadole Sapporo, as he scored four times in a 5-2 win over Shimizu S-Pulse in the J-League on Saturday.

However, after Lopes’ second goal he celebrated by jumping over the advertizing boards to celebrate with the fans.

The only problem with that, is that there is a 10-foot drop on the other side of the boards. Lopes didn’t know about that as this was his first home game for Consadole Sapporo.

Lopes received treatment and was fine to continue, as he came back on and scored his third and fourth goals of the game.

Take a look below to see the wild scene play out in Japan.


 

Andres Iniesta keeps scoring for new club Vissel Kobe

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Andres Iniesta’s departure from long-time club Barcelona is still taking some getting used to for those in Spain, however, the former Catalan midfielder seems to be adjusting just fine in his new life in Japan.

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Iniesta made his debut for J-League side Vissel Kobe last week, which fittingly resulted with a victory and a goal of epic proportions from the Spain international.

His second time out on the pitch resulted in a similar outcome; with a goal that brought the Vissel Kobe supporters to their feet (watch below).

Iniesta makes 1st start as Kobe beats Kashiwa in J-League

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TOKYO (AP) Andres Iniesta made his first start as Vissel Kobe beat Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 in the J-League on Saturday.

Iniesta, who came off the bench in Kobe’s 3-0 loss to Shonan Bellmare a week ago, had a scoring opportunity in the 15th minute when his right-footed shot from the edge of the area went wide.

He created another chance seven minutes later but it was his teammate, Asahi Masuyama, who scored the winner in the 66th as Kobe moved into fourth place on 28 points.

In other matches, forward Shinzo Koroki scored twice as visiting Urawa Reds thrashed league leaders Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4-1.

Hiroshima remains in first place with 41 points, seven ahead of FC Tokyo.

Yusuke Maruhashi scored twice, including an equalizer in the fifth minute of injury time, as Cerezo Osaka earned a 2-2 draw with Vegalta Sendai.

Elsewhere, Sagan Tosu and Jubilo Iwata finished 0-0, while Gamba Osaka and Kashima Antlers ended 1-1.

Nagoya Grampus vs. Consadole Sapporo, Yokohama F. Marinos vs. Shimizu S Pulse, and Shonan Bellmare vs. Kawasaki Frontale were postponed due to an approaching typhoon.

Podolski goal powers Vissel Kobe to 1st win in J-League

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KOBE, Japan (AP) German striker Lukas Podolski scored late in the second half on Sunday as Vissel Kobe beat Cerezo Osaka 2-0 for its first win of the J-League season.

Naoyuki Fujita gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute and Podolski secured the win on a left-foot shot with eight minutes remaining in regulation.

It was the first goal of the season for Podolski, who last year moved from Turkish club Galatasaray after signing a deal with Kobe estimated to be worth $5.3 million.

Elsewhere, Thai midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin scored late in stoppage time to lift Consadole Sapporo to a 2-1 win over V-Varen Nagasaki.

Takuma Abe scored midway through the second half to give Vegalta Sendai a share of the points in a 1-1 draw with Shimizu S-Pulse, while Diego Oliveira scored his first goal of the season as FC Tokyo beat Shonan Bellmare 1-0.

Mu Kanazaki scored the only goal as Kashima Antlers beat Sagan Tosu 1-0, Gamba Osaka and Kashiwa Reysol finished 2-2 and Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Jubilo Iwata ended in a goalless draw.