Stephen Gopey scored on his debut for FC Inhulets Petrove in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in a Ukrainian Premier League encounter.
Having replaced Artem Sitalo at the beginning of the second half, the 21-year-old justified his inclusion with a goal although Serhiy Lavrynenko’s side began the 2021-22 campaign on a losing note.
Thanks to his impressive displays at Nigeria Professional Football League outfit Wikki Tourist, the youngster was signed by the Ukrainian elite division side on a three-year contract.
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That move would see the Super Eagles prospect remain at the Inhulets Stadium until 2024.
Twelve minutes into the encounter, it was the hosts who took the lead courtesy of Burkina Faso international and ex-Ajax star Lassina Traore.
Benefitting from a fine cross by Israeli midfielder Manor Solomon, the 20-year-old beat his marker to score against goalkeeper Evgen Galchuk.
Before then, Galchuk had produced two great saves to deny Brazil’s Dodo.
That goal was a reality check for Inhulets who were made to work hard while their efforts to level matters got foiled by a good defensive display from the 13-time Ukrainian Premier League kings.
11 minutes to the half-time break, Roberto De Zerbi’s men doubled their advantage through Alan Patrick. The Brazilian midfielder fired past the goalkeeper after receiving a lob from Taras Stepanenko.
In dire need of goals, manager Lavrynenko threw Gopey into the fray for Sitalo and that change added attacking bite to the Inhulets frontline.
Patrick completed his brace in the 67th minute, albeit, his effort was canceled by referee Dmytro Kryvushkin as Traore was punished for being in an offside position.
Nine minutes from full-time, Gopey gave his team something to share as he reduced the deficit. Well-positioned in the penalty area, the African star poked Yevhen Opanasenko’s pass past goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin.
Despite a late rally from FC Inhulets, they returned home with their heads bowed low.
For Gopey, his performance was a massive feat having in mind that he had little time to train with the Ukrainian side. He would be hoping to get another shot at action as his team would be hoping to return to winning ways against Zorya on August 2.