May 9, 2021

Olunga: Kenya forward explains muted celebration for Kashiwa Reysol goal

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The former Gor Mahia striker explains why he opted against celebrating his goal that turned out to be the winner on Saturday

Kenya international Michael Olunga has revealed why he did not celebrate scoring against Nagoya Campus as Kashiwa Reysol maintained their winning run in the J1-League with a 1-0 victory 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.

However, the former Gor Mahia striker could not celebrate his latest success since he had collided with Nagoya custodian Mitch Langerak before he bundled the ball to an empty net to score his ninth goal of the season.

“It was great to be on the scoresheet again,” Olunga told reporters after the match. “But I could not celebrate because I feared a concussion for my friend and great keeper [Langerak], I am glad he was okay.”

On how he scored the goal, Olunga explained: “It was a good scene, because it was a good ball from Ataru [Esaka], and we knew we will get some space behind and of course it was a difficult ball because when the ball was travelling I saw the goalkeeper was coming so I knew I had no time and either way I had to connect the ball with one touch.

“It was going to bounce so I tried and connected with a plant of my foot and it was unfortunate with a collision the goalkeeper and I tried to see first if he was okay because health is more important than the goal and at the end of the day it gave us three points.”

On the game, which gave them a fourth straight win in the league, Olunga explained: “The game basically was a difficult one, [Nagoya] is a very good team and they were playing at home and they had not lost at home, and we knew it was going to be a difficult game, full of contact but honestly it was a good result to us, taking a 1-0 win here, we have a lot of positives and negatives to take back but the most important thing is to try and improve.

“At the end of the day when I score it is teamwork, of course, I scored the winning goal but it was teamwork and especially we have to give credit to our defence, they were really solid at the back, they absorbed pressure from the first minute and wish to thank all the players for sacrificing and making us win four matches in a row.”

Saturday’s win enabled Olunga and his teammates to rise on the log and are now fourth on the log with 15 points from eight games.

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