What you need to know:
- Kashiwa remain seventh with 36 points from 22 matches after clawing their second straight victory.
- They had thrashed Yokohama 3-0 in their previous league assignment. Coach Nelsinho’s men will host Urawa in their next fixture on Wednesday.
Michael Olunga continued tormenting goalkeepers in J1 League after netting his 51st goal in 55 matches for Kashiwa Reysol in their 4-3 win over Andreas Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe on Saturday.
Now on 21 goals this season, the Kenyan striker enjoys a nine-goal lead on top of the scorers chart after scoring twice at Hitachi Kashiwa Stadium in the latest round of matches.
Olunga was the top trending topic for the better part of Saturday on Twitter as Kenyans marveled at his scoring spree.
And some want the talisman to join English Premier League giants Manchester United.
Olunga opened the scoring with a low header on 20 minutes before Japanese midfielder Ataru Esaka doubled the lead six minutes to the break.
Olunga completed his brace tapping in near the right post after goalkeeper Daiya Maekawa failed to deal with Masatoshi Mihara's powerful shot at the stroke of half-time.
Ataru then made it 4-0 in the 52nd minute before Kobe started their comeback with goals from Junya Tanaka, who got his first, two minutes after coming on for Spaniard Sergi Samper in the 58th minute.
Kashiwa had a tense finish when they were reduced to 10 men after Shunki Takahashi was sent off for a second bookable offence. Spanish World Cup winner Iniesta scored the third goal from the spot three minutes to time.
Olunga, 26, who scored 27 goals as Kashiwa won the second-tier league in 2019, is leading the race to become the top scorer in J1 League this season.
He is ahead of four Brazilians Everaldo (Kashima Antlers), Erik (Yokohama F. Marinos), Marcos Junior (Yokohama F. Marinos) and Leandro Damiao (Kawasaki Frontale) and two Japanese Yu Kobayashi (Kawasaki Frontale) and Kyogo Furuhashi (Vissel Kobe).
Everaldo and 2017 top scorer Kobayashi have netted 12 goals each, Erik, Furuhashi and last season’s leading scorer Junior are on 11, while Damiao has contributed 10 goals for league leaders Kawasaki Frontale.
“Three points and two goals. All glory is yours Lord.”
In other matches held on Saturday, FC Tokyo, who will meet Kashiwa in the final of Levain Cup on November 7, lost 1-0 against Gamba Osaka, Nagoya Grampus hit Cerezo Osaka 1-0 and Sapporo inflicted hapless Shonan with their 15th loss this season in their 2-1 win.
Kashima ran out 3-2 winners against Yokohama FC as defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos put four unanswered goals past Oita Trinita.
Kawasaki bagged their ninth consecutive win by defeating Vegalta Sendai 1-0 as Sagan Tosu surrendered 1-0 against Urawa Red Diamonds.
Kashiwa remain seventh with 36 points from 22 matches after clawing their second straight victory.
They had thrashed Yokohama 3-0 in their previous league assignment. Coach Nelsinho’s men will host Urawa in their next fixture on Wednesday.