Photo/IllutrationAndres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe makes his debut in Japanese soccer during a match against Shonan Bellmare on July 22 in Kobe. (Satoru Ogawa/ The Asahi Shimbun)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres made their much-anticipated debuts in Japanese soccer on Sunday, but both ended up on the losing side.

The Spanish pair recently joined J.League teams following illustrious careers in Europe.

Iniesta's signing for Vissel Kobe has been met with understandable excitement in Japan and the home crowd were given their first sight of the former Barcelona great when he came on as a second-half substitute against Shonan Bellmare.

Iniesta, in his first appearance since Spain’s disappointing World Cup campaign, failed to make an impact, however, as Kobe lost 3-0.

The defeat means Kobe are in sixth place in the table, just past the halfway point in the Japanese league season.

Keisuke Saka and Mitsuki Saito scored to give the visitors a 2-0 lead before Iniesta came on as a 59th-minute substitute. But Shunsuke Kikuchi added another in the 67th to put the result beyond doubt.

The 34-year-old Iniesta had his first touch in the 62nd minute, as he received a pass inside his own area before dribbling to halfway and passing to Takuya Yasui on the wing.

Iniesta created a chance when he sent a through ball that found Wellington inside the box in the 89th minute but the Brazilian's shot was deflected out for a corner.

Iniesta, who trained with his teammates for the first time Friday, is expected to make his first J-League start when Vissel play Kashiwa Reysol at home on Saturday.

Iniesta scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final. He also was a key part of Spain's two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Compatriot Torres, who left Atletico Madrid at the end of the Spanish season, also started on the bench for new club Sagan Tosu.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker came on shortly after halftime but failed to get on the scoresheet as his new team lost 1-0 to Vegalta Sendai following Takuma Nishimura’s late winner.

Torres scored 38 goals in his 110 caps for Spain and was in the winning squad for the 2010 World Cup.

Sagan Tosu are now second from bottom in the 18-team table and will be desperate for Torres to start scoring as they bid to avoid relegation.

Sanfreece Hiroshima currently lead the league, seven points clear of Tokyo FC in second place.