J. LEAGUE

Andrés Iniesta skippers Vissel Kobe to first trophy in David Villa's final match

David Villa came on as an injury-time sub in his final match but ends his playing career as a winner as Vissel Kobe beat Kashima Antlers to lift the Emperor's Cup.

Iniesta guides Vissel Kobe to first trophy in Villa's final match

Andrés Iniesta captained Vissel Kobe to their first ever trophy as the side ran out 2-0 winners against Kashima Antlers to lift the Emperor's Cup in David Villa's final game as a professional. Vissel, who were founded in 1966 and moved to Kobe, western Japan, in 1995, have built a star-studded squad in a bid to end their wait for silverware, with former Barcelona stars Iniesta, Villa and Thomas Vermaelen featuring alongside Lukas Podolski.

Villa set to retire after Cup triumph

Wednesday's showpiece marked the opening of Tokyo's New National stadium but also the end of Villa's glittering playing career. The World Cup winner announced in November he would be retiring at the end of the year, and he was restricted to a late substitute appearance, replacing Podolski in the second minute of stoppage time.

Villa, who had been dealing with injury issues in the final weeks of his career, said: "I am very happy to be able to stand on the pitch at the end and be very happy."

Iniesta was influential in the victory, yet the goals arrived in scrappy fashion, an own goal from Tomoya Inukai followed by a fortunate deflection for Noriaki Fujimoto.