Andres Iniesta could be absent again but Vissel Kobe have plenty in reserve for AFC Champions League quarterfinals

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They have already successfully negotiated past the first hurdle in their AFC Champions League knockout-round quest without their talismanic playmaker.

And Vissel Kobe may need to pass their second test sans Andres Iniesta once again when they take on Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the quarterfinals on Monday.

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Although he was named as a substitute in Thursday's Round of 16 clash with fellow J1 League outfit Yokohama F. Marinos, Iniesta was not required to come off the bench as his side claimed an impressive 3-2 win to progress to the last eight.

Ahead of the upcoming clash against Jeonbuk, Vissel coach Takayuki Yoshida was uncertain about Iniesta's availability despite some recent positive signs.

"There is a situation with Iniesta's leg and I am unable to provide any confirmation for now," said Yoshida in Sunday's pre-match news conference.

"He trained the last two days but did not today (Sunday). We just have to wait."

Being deprived of a player of Iniesta's experience and calibre will certainly hurt.

Especially so for a team who desperately need success in the ACL after a woeful campaign so far on the domestic front, with Vissel currently battling relegation in the J1 League.

Nonetheless, if Thursday's display is anything to go by, Vissel might have enough to cope if he is absent once more.

So they should, given the amount of investment that has been put in to assemble such a star-studded side.

But curiously, it is Vissel's less-heralded players that could take the opportunity to step up and shine.

Against Marinos, it was 22-year-old Daiju Sasaki who was handed the role of being the creative fulcrum, deployed just ahead of the stable central-midfield partnership of Hotaru Yamaguchi and Leo Osaki, and in the middle of the wide attacking outlets in Nanasei Iino and Koya Yuruki.

Sasaki produced a display brimming with energy and enterprise, combing with Iino, Yuruki and striker Yuya Osako to cause the opposition all sorts of problems.

When Vissel won a penalty, it was Sasaki who took the responsibility usually on Iniesta's shoulders to fire coolly fire his side into a 2-1 lead.

And it will not just be Sasaki that could rise to the occasion.

Deployed on the right, Iino was a real livewire with a breakout performance, while Osaki continues to perform any task he is handed with minimal fuss -- as he did on Thursday with his job to break up any Marinos forays forward by any means necessary.

Although they cannot exactly be considered lesser lights given their European experience in the Bundesliga, the combined experience of Yamaguchi, Osako and Gotoku Sakai have also gone some way in filling Iniesta's void.

In an ideal scenario, Vissel will be able to call upon Iniesta on Monday as they look to march on into the semifinals -- and then book their spot in next February's decider.

Yet, even if the situation is not as ideal, they certainly are not out of the equation just yet.