Defender Kwon Kyung-won headed home a late winner Sunday for Gamba Osaka, who defeated 10-man Vissel Kobe 2-0 in a sometimes-volatile J. League top-flight clash.
The South Korean international made the breakthrough off an 81st-minute corner before substitute Wellington Silva added the second in injury time against a ragged Kobe defense.
The loss compounded the recent woes for presumptive glamor club Kobe, whose star-studded squad has yet to register a win from 11 J1 games.
The visitors went a man down in the 34th minute at Panasonic Stadium when Ryuho Kikuchi was red-carded for deliberately tripping Patric in a goal-scoring position outside the box.
Gamba sent three shots into the woodwork before the break, including a Kwon thunderbolt that rattled the upright.
Playing 10 against 11 eventually took its toll on manager Miguel Angel Lotina’s men, who were forced to defend a succession of set pieces late in the game.
Ko Yanagisawa’s deflected shot ricocheted to the right of the area, where a leaping Kwon nodded past Kobe keeper Daiya Maekawa.
“It was a draining game, and I’m just glad I was able to score the goal,” said the 30-year-old Kwon, who transferred earlier in the year from K League side Seongnam FC. “I really felt like I wanted to do something to help the team, and I luckily had the chance when the ball fell to me.”
Tomohiro Katanosaka’s Gamba side broke a five-game winless streak in the J1 but stayed in the lower half of the standings on 14 points. Vissel, who appointed Lotina last month after sacking Atsuhiro Miura, are bottom of the table with just four points.
In other J1 action, Sagan Tosu beat FC Tokyo 1-0 at Ajinomoto Stadium on a late Yuki Horigome free kick, while Kashiwa Reysol and Urawa Reds fought to a scoreless draw.
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