Vissel Kobe were visiting Suita Stadium after their two-legged loss in the Levain Cup and went home with the points thanks to goals from Kazuma Watanabe and former Gamba hero Kotaro Omori!
Watanabe's goal was a left-footed flick off a right wing cross in the 18th minute which gave the away team an early lead.
Six minutes before the break a lovely passing move from the home team, started and finished by Yasuhito Endo opened up space for the shot - Ademilson's final dummy was sublime - but the veteran number 7's shot was just over from 20 yards out.
Omori scored the second to double his team's lead with a superbly-taken half volley after a cross was only half cleared and Vissel were 2-0 up before an hour was gone.
Shu Kurata converted a PK in the 65th minute - won by Hwang Ui-jo - to set up an exciting finish to this Kansai Derby but it was almost 3-1 ten minutes later as Higashiguchi was forced into a fine save from a Junya Tanaka free kick.
The last word almost went to Shun Nagasawa when his falling right-footed volley went just over the bar with minutes to go, but Vissel held on to take the points.
Team - Higashiguchi, Oh, Miura, Fabio, Fujiharu, Ideguchi, Konno (Yonekura, 80), Kurata, Endo (Hwang, 63), Nagasawa, Ademilson (Izumisawa, 55)
Goal: 65' Shu KURATA