Olunga and Kashiwa Reysol out to end rot in J-League

Kashiwa Reysol's Kenyan striker Michael Olunga celebrates scoring a goal in the J-League against Shonan.

Photo credit: Pool |

What you need to know:

  • Kashiwa boast of having the league’s leading scorer Kenya’s Michael Olunga in their ranks.
  • Kashiwa have picked just one point from their last three fixtures
  • Tokyo, too, have had a poor run of form after dropping all points for the third time in four matches, including a 4-0 thumping by defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos.

Kashiwa Reysol will be desperately looking to end a two-match losing streak when they visit equally disappointing FC Tokyo in a J-League match on Wednesday at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.

Kashiwa boast of having the league’s leading scorer Kenya’s Michael Olunga in their ranks.

However, they have picked just one point from their last three fixtures after drawing 1-1 against Urawa Red Diamonds before succumbing to back-to-back defeats against Shonan Bellmare (3-2) and Gamba Osaka (2-1).

Tokyo, too, have had a poor run of form after dropping all points for the third time in four matches, including a 4-0 thumping by defending champions Yokohama F. Marinos.

For Kashiwa, scoring goals is not a problem. They have scored in their last 12 J1 League matches inspired by goals from 26-year-old forward Olunga and star midfielder Ataru Esaka.

But coach Nelsinho’s men will have to work extra hard to get something from highly-ranked Tokyo, who have also floored Kashiwa in their last two meetings.

Kashiwa lost away to FC Tokyo 2-0 on April 24 last year in the Levain Cup and also failed to score when they last faced each other in July this year as the ninth-ranked side suffered 1-0 at their own turf in the league.

Prior to the two defeats, Kashiwa had overpowered the Tokyo side twice with an aggregate score of 3-1 with Olunga the architect of FC Tokyo’s downfall in the league when he planted both goals in their 2-1 win at Kashiwa on March 6, 2019.   

FC Tokyo occupy the fourth spot in the 18-team league with 47 points from 27 matches, while Kashiwa are 10 points adrift in ninth place after taking to the field 24 times.

A win for Kashiwa will return them to eighth place currently held Urawa who displaced Nelsinho’s men from the spot with a 3-1 win over Cerezo Osaka.

Olunga has netted 23 goals in the league, 10 more than his closest challenger Brazilian Everaldo of Kashima Antlers. The ‘Engineer’  will hope to be on the winning side after scoring in the last two losses.

In other matches lined up today, bottom-of-the-table Vegalta Sendai entertain 11th-ranked Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe as 10th-placed Sanfrecce duels with seventh-ranked Marinos.

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