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J-League: Vissel Kobe win first title

Vissel Kobe's players celebrate winning the J-League

Vissel Kobe’s previous best J-League finish was second in 2013

Vissel Kobe won the J-League for the first time in the history – five months after Spain and Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta left the Japanese club.

Kobe’s form improved after manager coach Takayuki Yoshida dropped Iniesta, who joined Emirates Club in the UAE Pro League in August.

Kobe beat Nagoya Grampus 2-1 to seal the title with a game to spare.

“I’ve never experienced this kind of happiness before,” said captain Hotaru Yamaguchi.

“The emotion started to come out about five minutes before the final whistle. I’m just so happy.”

Haruya Ide and former Newcastle striker Yoshinori Muto scored for Kobe at the Noevir Stadium as they opened up an unassailable four-point lead over second-placed Yokohama F Marinos.

Ex-Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, who joined Kobe from Galatasaray in September, was an unused substitute.

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