April 21, 2021

Olunga: Kenya forward strikes again as Kashiwa Reysol see off Nagoya Grampus

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The towering Harambee Stars striker has nine goals so far after taking part in eight matches in the Japanese top tier

Kenya international Michael Olunga scored yet again as Kashiwa Reysol defeated Nagoya Grampus 1-0 on Saturday.

Olunga found the back of the net in the 71st minute with an assist from Ataru Esaka as Kashiwa Reysol picked up their fourth win in the last five matches.

There were four yellow cards recorded in the tightly fought tie at Aichi. Olunga’s teammate Tatsuya Yamashita was the first player to be cautioned in the 23rd minute before Kosuke Nakamura was booked in the 29th minute.

Nagoya Grampus’ Sho Inagaki entered into the referee’s book in the 32nd minute before his Brazilian teammate Joao Schmidt was yellow-carded in the 53rd minute.

Olunga has turned out to be a dependable and prolific striker for the 2019 J2 League champions in the top-flight as he has now scored in the last four matches.

The former Thika United, Tusker and Gor Mahia centre-forward failed to score in the first three matches since J1 League restarted on July 4 but his recent fine form now sees him top the scorers’ chart with nine goals.

Olunga’s closest Golden Boot challengers include Yu Kobayashi of Kawasaki Frontale, Musashi Suzuki of Consadole Sapporo, Marcos Junior of Yokohama Marinos, Leonardo Perreira of Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Kyogo Furuhashi of Vissel Kobe.

Saturday’s win has enabled Olunga and his teammates rise on the log and are now placed at position three, temporarily though, with 15 points from eight games, with one more point than Nagoya Grampus, who have played seven matches so far.

Wins for Cerezo Osaka against Shonan Bellmare and Tokyo against Sagan Tosu in the other Saturday actions will see Kashiwa Reysol drop to fifth.

Olunga, who scored his first J1 League hat-trick against Vegalta Sendai on July 26, has established himself as one of the clear runners for the Golden Boot at this stage.

He was the runner-up in the second division when he managed 27 goals in a successful campaign which pushed Kashiwa Reysol back to the top tier.

In other matches, Vegalta Sendai recorded a second consecutive loss after falling 1-0 to Yokohama Marinos

Yokohama FC were defeated 2-0 by Sanfrecce Hiroshima with more games yet to conclude.

On Sunday, eighth-placed Consadole Sapporo will host Vissel Kobe, who are 11th after playing seven matches.

Olunga will have another opportunity to try and add more goals when Kashiwa Reysol face Shonan Bellmare on August 5.