Michael Olunga will hope having his image on match-day tickets will inspire his Kashiwa Reysol to a win against Oita Trinita in a Japan top-tier match (J1 League) on Wednesday at Sankyo Frontier Stadium on Wednesday.
Coach Nelson Baptista’s men head into the rearranged fixture having won just once from their last seven matches at Sankyo Frontier. They have no victory in their last four home matches.
The only victory Nelsinho’s men have tasted at home from their last seven was when they survived a late scare in their 4-3 win against against Andreas Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe.
Against 11th-placed Oita, eighth-ranked Kashiwa is up against a side that is struggling for form after collecting just one point from their last three matches.
However, Kashiwa will have themselves to blame if they underestimate Oita which has lost just once on the road in their last seven matches.
Kenyan international striker Olunga, who has troubled opponents with his height and speed throughout the season, will again Kashiwa’s hope to end the winless record of four home matches.
The 26-year-old has scored 26 out of Kashiwa’s 56 goals in the 18-team league this season. He was contained by a strong Nagoya defence last Saturday in a match he later described as difficult outing “but with a lot of positives to pick from”.
This match was originally scheduled for November 14, but was postponed as Kashiwa was still in quarantine after 16 coronavirus cases in its camp.
Kashiwa is unbeaten in three matches against Oita, having also dispatched them 2-0 in 2017 in Emperor’s Cup and 3-1 in Levain Cup in August.
The last time Oita got the better of Kashiwa was in 2013, a 1-0 win in Emperor’s Cup.
Top scorer Olunga has a nine-goal gap on his closest rival, Brazilian Everaldo who has netted 17 times for Kashima Antlers.
As it stands, Olunga will be one of recipients in the 2020 J League Awards programmed for December 22. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards will be held online.
Some of the categories lined up for the awards include top scorer, best player, best 11 and coach of the year.