Kenya: Michael Olunga Ends Goal Drought in Japan

27 September 2020

Michael Olunga ended his goal drought after scoring in Kashiwa Reysol's 3-1 loss against defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan's top-tier league (J1 League) at Hitachi Stadium on Sunday.

The lanky Kenyan international, who had gone two matches without a goal, headed Kashiwa in front in the 40th minute from a Hiromu Mitsumaru corner. Mitsumaru was introduced in the 36th minute for Sachiro Toshima, who suffered a serious injury.

Olunga, who was voted August Player of the Month, tops the scoring charts with 17 goals in the league this season. He could have made it 2-0 seconds later after Hidekazu Otani's perfect pass but his shot went wide.

However, Marinos turned the match around in the second half with Erik scoring the equaliser in the 77 minute, before own goal from Reysol defender Takuma Ominami put them 2-1 in the 82nd minute and Daizen Maeda's 92nd minute strike quashed any hopes of a comeback from the hosts.

Kashiwa's loss against Marinos leaves them in eighth place with 30 pints from 19 matches.

It was Kashiwa's first loss against Marinos at the Hitachi Stadium after identical 2-0 wins in 2017 and 2018. Kashiwa is also without a win against Marinos in the last three matches as they were hit 3-1 in September 2018 and then drew 1-1 last month.

Coming to this fixture, Kashiwa had floored Consadole Sapporo 1-0 on September 23, while Marinos had thumped Shimizu 3-0, Tosu 3-1 and Sendai 3-1.

In other matches, Vegalta Sendai lost 2-3 at their backyard against Cerezo Osaka as Sagan Tosu and Oita Trinita shocked highly-fancied rivals FC Tokyo 3-0 and Kashima Antlers 2-0 respectively.

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