Villa scores 1st goal in Japan as Kobe beats Sagan Tosu 1-0

Vissel Kobe's David Villa scores his first goal in Japan against Sagan Tosu during a J-League soccer match in Kobe, western Japan, Saturday, March 2, 2019.(Kyodo News via AP)
Vissel Kobe's Lukas Podolski, center, controls the ball against Sagan Tosu's Fernando Torres, center left, during a J-League soccer match in Kobe, western Japan, Saturday, March 2, 2019.(Kyodo News via AP)
Vissel Kobe's Andres Iniesta, left, controls the ball against Sagan Tosu during a J-League soccer match in Kobe, western Japan, Saturday, March 2, 2019.(Kyodo News via AP)

KOBE, Japan — David Villa scored his first goal in Japan as Vissel Kobe beat Sagan Tosu 1-0 in the J-League on Saturday.

Villa gave the hosts a 1-0 lead nine minutes after the break when he beat Sagan goalkeeper Takuo Okubo with a right-foot shot from 18 meters.

The 36-year-old Villa has been reunited with former Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta at Kobe. Villa scored 59 goals in 98 appearances for Spain from 2004-17, including five goals at the 2010 World Cup as his nation won its first title. He scored four goals for Spain en route to the 2008 European Championship title.

Before signing with Kobe, the Spanish forward spent four seasons with New York City FC, scoring 80 goals in 124 MLS appearances.

In other matches, Edigar Junio scored twice as Yokohama F Marinos edged Vegalta Sendai 2-1.

Junio scored from the penalty spot in the 27th minute and doubled the advantage 10 minutes later as Yokohama improved to 2-0.

Naoki Ishihara scored in the final minute of regulation for Sendai.

Gamba Osaka thrashed Shimizu S-Pulse 4-2 while Nagoya Grampus beat Cerezo Osaka 2-0.

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For more AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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