By Femi Fasetire
Venezia of Italy summer arrival, David Chidozie Okereke has explained reasons behind what some analysts called a 'selfish goal' he scored against Empoli on Saturday, saying it was basically because he did not get any support up front from his colleagues in the Italian Serie A newcomers.
Okereke hyped himself for taking the initiative in his side’s away fixture, in which he played as a second half substitute, following which he took personal delight in his ability to eke out a 2-1 win over their hosts.
The 24-year-old attacker entered the match in the 67th minute to replace Antonio Junior Vacca and then hit target almost immediately to make it 2-0, after collecting the ball in midfield and skipped past four Empoli defenders before placing a left-footed shot beyond the goalkeeper.
It has already been described as goal of the week by match analysts, while Serie A fans were totally excited seeing Okereke celebrate his wonder goal with ‘Focus Dance,’ which is now a reigning choreographic performance in Nigeria.
However, rather than praise team work for the goal he notched against Empoli, the former Club Brugge of Belgium attacker, who previously starred for Italian lower division side, Spezia, said he had to go solo since there was no teammate to support him.
Although the former under-23 national team, Olympic Eagles' attacker parried all comparisons of his effort with a similar pone by 1995 World Footballer of The Year, George Oppong Weah several years ago with AC Milan, Okereke stressed that he lacked support on the pitch.
He, however, expressed optimism that things will get better for the Venice-based squad, as they have been putting efforts together in training to blend and gather better rhythm playing among themselves.
With that in view, the dreadlocks-wearing Okereke stopped short of rating his effort against Empoli on the same level with Weah's wonderful solo goal that he notched versus Hellas Verona on September 8, 1996.
Okereke, who is on loan from Club Brugge, hit home in stunning style for his first goal since his move to Venezia in a remarkable moment of individual brilliance and a one man show all the way to the net, after he received the ball in his own half of the pitch
He then stormed past several Empoli players before slotting home from just inside the box to give Venezia a two-goal advantage, less than two minutes after his introduction off the bench, three days after the 25th anniversary of Weah's 85th minute effort against Verona.
It was a personal and collective turnaround for Okereke, who got his debut for The Winged Lions in a 3-0 loss to Udinese, but his day in history came on Saturday against Gli Azzurri inside Stadio Carlo Castellani, where he found the outstanding moment to inspire his newly-promoted side to their first win of the 2021/22 campaign.
The goal came within 70 seconds of Okereke going on, as he gathered the ball in his own half after a corner, than ran at the opponents, weaving to avoid tackles and fired home just inside the area.
Soon after, Okereke almost struck another goal on the counter, but he was this time denied by Cristian Molinaro’s desperate block, but they had done enough to finally seal their first Serie A victory of the season and first since their return to the Italian top-flight.
The Venice-based side had lost their first two league games on their return to the top-flight, but they finally picked up their first three points away from home, with Okereke’s solo goal accounting for much of the day’s celebration.
Prior to the international break, Venezia were rooted to the bottom of the Serie A standings but they are now 18th on the log, following which Okereke told Calciomercatio : "Goal? I did it all by myself because there was no one there.
“I'm very happy with how it ended. In training camp it helped us being together by creating the group. Italian football is another life, we suffered a little but we managed to win."
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