Torres bows out in 6-1 humbling to Iniesta's Vissel Kobe as tributes continue

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

Fernando Torres did not get a fitting finale to his football career as Sagan Tosu were routed 6-1 on Friday by a Vissel Kobe side led by his former Spain colleagues Andres Iniesta and David Villa.

Torres played for the final time in the J.League clash in Tosu, but his struggling side were dismantled - with friend and former team-mate Iniesta playing a central role.

The former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool superstar played the full 90 minutes but failed to find the net, with Tosu's only strike a Thomas Vermaelen own goal.

Iniesta was in fine form for Vissel, scoring a 20th-minute penalty to put the visitors 2-0 up and then playing a gorgeous pass in the build-up to Junya Tanaka's well-worked effort two minutes later.

The ex-Barcelona midfielder was later withdrawn injured, but David Villa appeared from the bench as Vissel ran riot.

Iniesta had written a letter to Torres in tribute before the match and the striker could at least be comforted by continued messages throughout and after the defeat.

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard appeared in a video on the big screen at the stadium to address Torres, while Sergio Ramos led the numerous Twitter posts.

"Team-mate, opponent, friend, legend," Ramos wrote. "A kid from Fuenlabrada who won everything while always remaining the same 'Nino'."

Torres addressed the crowd with a speech after the match, thanking the club and fans for their attitude and welcoming nature during his time in Japan.

"Even when in the danger of being relegated last year, everyone continued to be professional and hard-working," Torres told the crowd. "They kept their positive attitude no matter how hard things were.

"I really learned a lot from everyone and I hope everyone learned something from me, even a little bit. I hope I can move forward.

"Thanks to all of Japan for accepting our family. Please know that there is a wonderful country called Japan."

Related items

  • JFF expresses regret over killing of Irvino English JFF expresses regret over killing of Irvino English

    The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) have released statements of condolence in the wake of the tragic death of former national football player Irvino English.

  • Inter 2-1 Ludogorets (4-1 agg): Conte's men get job done at empty San Siro Inter 2-1 Ludogorets (4-1 agg): Conte's men get job done at empty San Siro

    Inter recovered from a goal down to beat Ludogorets 2-1 at an empty San Siro and seal a 4-1 aggregate victory in Thursday's Europa League last-32 tie.

    Antonio Conte's men took a two-goal lead into the second leg, which was played behind closed doors due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

    Cauly profited from some sloppy defending to halve the deficit with 26 minutes played, but Cristiano Biraghi squeezed in a deflected effort from an angle after being played in by Eriksen to level things up on the night.

    Romelu Lukaku edged the Italian club ahead with a strange goal just before half-time and competition favourites Inter saw things through to book a place in Friday's last-16 draw.

    Lukaku, who had also scored a late penalty in last week's first leg after Christian Eriksen's opener, failed to beat Plamen Iliev from a one-on-one five minutes into this return match. 

    Bulgarian champions Ludogorets gave themselves some hope when Cauly held off Diego Godin and fired past Daniele Padelli at his neat post via the underside of the crossbar.

    But Inter restored their two-goal aggregate margin 188 seconds later as Biraghi's drilled effort from the left went in via a deflection off visiting defender Georgi Terziev.

    Lukaku then atoned for his earlier miss by scoring a bizarre fourth goal of the tie for Inter, with the ball ricocheting off his body while on the floor after his initial header was saved.

    Alexis Sanchez played a big part in that goal and struck the frame of the goal with a 25-yard drive early in the second half.

    Lukaku was also denied by a mixture of Iliev and the post five minutes later but, a near-miss from substitute Mavis Tchibota aside, Inter had little trouble in seeing out a second victory on the bounce ahead of Sunday's trip to Juventus.

     

    What does it mean? Inter regain some momentum

    Successive wins against Ludogorets, either side of Sunday's postponed league clash with Sampdoria, has given Inter some much-needed momentum after back-to-back losses.

    This weekend's trip to Juventus has officially been given the go ahead and Conte's men know that defeat in Turin could kill off their Scudetto title hopes, making it a truly huge game.

    Lukaku's fine form continues

    Lukaku's goal may have been fortunate, but he linked up well with Sanchez in the build-up and now has 23 for the season in all competitions.

    The Belgium international joins Samuel Eto'o as the only Inter players to have scored at least two goals in four different competitions in a single season, excluding qualifiers.

    Calamity defending for Ludogorets' opener

    Godin claimed he was shoved off the ball by Cauly for the visitors' goal, but the VAR officials agreed with the referee's assessment and let it stand.

    Not only was the veteran centre-back caught out, captain Andrea Ranocchia also failed to close down the Ludogorets goal-scorer and Padelli was easily beaten at his near post.

    What's next?

    Inter travel to Serie A leaders Juventus on Sunday in another behind-closed-doors match, while Ludogorets head to Arda the same day as they close in on a ninth successive Bulgarian First League title.

  • FIFA confirms new loan restrictions from July FIFA confirms new loan restrictions from July

    FIFA has announced its proposed restrictions on international loan transfers will come into effect in July 2020, pending approval from the FIFA Council.

    The Football Stakeholders Committee has endorsed the introduction of international loan limits for players aged 22 and over.

    Clubs will be allowed a maximum of eight in and out from 2020-21, with that figure decreasing to six in 2022-23, with no more than three in and three out between the same clubs.

    FIFA said the regulations would "ensure that [loan transfers] have a valid sporting purpose for youth development".

    With the new rules for international deals set to be introduced in July, member associations have three years to set regulations for domestic loans.

    These domestic laws would have to be "in line with the principles established at international level".

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.