Kenya striker Michael Olunga continued with his impresive goal-scoring form in the J1 League when he scored a brace to help Kashiwa Reysol down Vissel Kobe 4-3.
It is the second straight time that Olunga scored a league brace after he had achieved the same against Yokohama FC on October 1. The two goals on Saturday now take his tally to 21 after Kashiwa Reysol have played the same number of matches.
Olunga found the back of the net in the 20th minute after he received a pass from Cristiano da Silva for the opener. Ataru Esaka added the second one for Kashiwa Reysol in the 39th minute before the former Thika United star added his second a minute to the half-time break.
Esaka registered his own brace seven minutes after the restart of the second half with Masatoshi Mihara assisting him.
Junya Tanaki scored at the hour mark to deny Olunga and his team a home clean sheet. After 15 minutes, the Japanese international grabbed his brace as he added the second for Vissel Kobe.
A hard-fighting Vissel Kobe earned the third goal from the spot when the former Barcelona star Andres Iniesta converted a penalty in the 87th minute.
“Olunga has already conquered Japan and he is now ripe for a better challenge,” the AFC Leopards legend said in an interview with Goal on Monday. “If he wants to continue developing and grow career-wise, he has no option but to move.
“He is still young and at his peak, he should be competing with the best in the world. I believe in his ability and potential; it is time for him to risk it in top leagues and I am confident he will prevail.
“We have seen players who are way below Olunga's quality play in the Premier League and make an impact," he added. “Olunga is class and will help any team he plays for in the league. However, he should target small clubs because the pressure is less as compared to established teams.”
Saturday's victory took Kashiwa Reysol up to seventh in the table.