Inui becomes the 4th Japanese player to score in La Liga

Inui becomes the 4th Japanese player to score in La Liga

Javier Etxezarreta


The Eibar player opened with a tremendous curled strike into the top corner against Espanyol.

Takashi Inui became the fourth Japanese player to score in the Liga BBVA and did so in style with a sensational curled finish into the top corner against Espanyol at Ipurua this evening.

It means that the Eibar No.8 joins a select group of players to have found the net in the Spanish top flight. The first was Shōji Jō, who scored a brace in the 2-1 win over Oviedo on 28 February 2000 while he was on loan at Real Valladolid. Unfortunately, those were his only goals during his brief time in Spain and he didn’t score again before he returned to Yokohama Marinos.

The next Japanese player to find the net in Spain was also on loan. Yoshito Ōkubo joined Mallorca in the 2004/2005 winter transfer window after two impressive seasons with Cerezo Osaka. He quickly settled into life in La Liga and scored three times in 13 outings that season – his first one, famously, on his debut at Son Moix against Deportivo. His other two were just as important as they help to save Mallorca from being relegated. In the following season he scored twice in 26 appearances but he decided he needed a change of scenery and returned home to Japan to continue his career with Vissel Kobe.

The last Japanese scorer in Spain’s Division of Honour before Inui was Akihiro Ienaga. ‘Aki’ as he was known in Spain, also made his debut with Mallorca who brought him in during the 2010/2011 January window. In the 14 games he played until the end of the season, he scored twice at the Iberostar – one against Sevilla and another against Getafe. He hardly featured during his second season and decided to return to Japan. He came back to Mallorca for the 2013/2014 season but was unsuccessful in front of goal. He is currently on the books at J2 League outfit, Omiya Ardija.

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