Michael Olunga Sets New Record Abroad to Beat Iniesta's Vissel Kobe

  • Kashiwa Reysol forward Michael Olunga celebrates after scoring against Gamba Osaka during their Japanese J1 League match at Suita Football City Stadium in Osaka on February 16, 2020
    Kashiwa Reysol forward Michael Olunga celebrates after scoring against Gamba Osaka during their Japanese J1 League match at Suita Football City Stadium in Osaka on February 16, 2020
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  • Michael Olunga scored Kashiwa Reysol's second goal as they beat fancied Vissel Kobe 3-2 in a J1 league match on Wednesday, August 19.

    Olunga took his tally for the season to 12 goals in 11 games, remaining firmly at the top of the J1 scoring charts with the next player, Kashima Antlers' Everaldo, on 7 goals.

    He also set a new record in the process; becoming the first Reysol player, and the first Kenyan, to score in seven consecutive J1 league games.

    Kobe, despite having the likes of Champions League-winning Spain legend Andres Iniesta and Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen, were unable to secure a win against a hungry Kashiwa side.

    An image of Olunga
    Kashiwa Reysol forward Michael Olunga posing for a photo with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against Vegalta Sendai on Sunday 26 July 2020.
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    Kashiwa came back from a goal down after Goke scored the opener for Kobe at the end of the first half.

    Kashiwa's Nakama settled matters after the break, scoring in the 46th minute to make it 1-1. Olunga then put Reysol in the lead when he scored in the 77th minute.

    Assisted by Toshima, Olunga used his physicality to get past two defenders in the final third, racing into the box and firing a shot past the keeper.

    Kobe, however, were determined not to lose at home and equalized in the 89th minute.

    All three points, however, went to Kashiwa as Mihara scored the winner in the dying minutes of extra-time in what was a nail-biter for many fans.

    The performance came amid transfer interest in Olunga from clubs including Lens in France and Besiktas in Turkey.

    Turkish giants Besiktas are said to be leading the pack in the hunt for Olunga's signature to bolster their attacking options. His incredible form since last season when he led Kashiwa Reysol to promotion from the J2 league did not go unnoticed by scouts at the club who have been monitoring him.

    The speculation around his transfer has sparked excitement among Besiktas fans, many of whom hope to see him sign for the club.

    Part of the appeal for Olunga in any potential deal with Besiktas will be the chance to play Uefa Champions League football with the club.

    Multiple football indexes including TransferMarkt place Olunga's value on the transfer market at around 1,000,000 pounds (Ksh120,000,000).

    File image of Michael Olunga in action for Kashiwa Reysol
    File image of Michael Olunga in action for Kashiwa Reysol
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