Soccer: Bellmare finish strongly to beat Kobe 2-0

©Kyodo News

Takuya Okamoto opened the scoring in the 78th minute and Mitsuki Saito sealed the result with a long-range wonder strike as Shonan Bellmare stormed home late to beat Vissel Kobe 2-0 in the J-League first division on Sunday.

Despite the lion's share of possession, Kobe failed to press home the advantage at Noevir Stadium due in part to a strong performance between the posts by Shonan keeper Kosei Tani.

Kobe goalie Hiroki Iikura had also been among the best for his side, stopping shots from former Sevilla striker Hiroshi Ibusuki and frustrating the visitors' attempts to hit quickly on the counter.

But Okamoto found a way past Iikura on a breakaway, collecting a diagonal ball from Naoki Yamada and firing home from a meter outside the area.

"It was a nice pass from Yamada and I hit it about as well as I could have hoped," Okamoto said. "It was tough going at times in the first half, but we stuck to our defensive principles."

Saito, who netted in Shonan's 1-0 defeat of champions Yokohama F Marinos on Wednesday, scored one for the highlight reel in the 84th minute when he dispossessed former Japan fullback Gotoku Sakai and caught Iikura off his line with a soaring shot from just inside halfway.

After occupying last place for much of the campaign, Bin Ukishima's young Shonan side have strung together six games unbeaten and climbed to 16th.