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Football

Olunga crowned Asian Champions League top scorer

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Michael Olunga celebrates a goal in a past match

Harambee Stars forward Michael Olunga has been crowned as the AFC Champions League Golden Boot winner, despite his Qatari club Al Duhail exiting the competition in the group stages.

Olunga scored nine goals in six games and none of the other forwards could match his tally as the tournament wrapped up on Tuesday night with Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia being crowned champions.

Al Hilal beat South Korean outfit Pohang Steelers 2-0 to clinch the title, Nasser Aldawasari scoring after 16 seconds for the fastest goal in AFC Champions League history before Malian forward Moussa Marega doubling the tally in the second half.

The group phase of the AFC Champions League was played in a single venue in Saudi Arabia, retaining the home and away format. The decision was made to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19 in the competition.

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Michael Olunga celebrates a previous hatrick

Winners of each group would advance to the next round, joined by the top three best placed second spot finishers. Olunga’s Duhail fell by fine margins in this quest as they were ranked fourth best number two team.

Al Duhail had exited the competition in the group phase after finishing second in Group C with nine points, two shy of group winners Esteghlal.

But still, it did not remove the shine for the Kenyan forward’s rising star.

Olunga scored one of the two goals in the 2-0 opening victory against Al Shorta of Iraq before netting the solo goal against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli who equalized in the 93rd minute to deny Duhail maximum points.

The lanky Kenyan forward continued his scoring prowess by scoring a hattrick in the 4-3 victory against Iranian side Esteghlal, his third being a game winner.

In the second round, he continued his scoring form by scoring twice against the Iranians in a 2-2 draw and also netted Duhail’s consolation in the 2-1 loss to Shorta. He scored his ninth of the campaign in the 1-1 draw with Ahli.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan striker says he is pleased with how his season is unfolding in Qatar having also scored nine goals so far in the Qatar Stars League, sitting top of the golden boot hunt.

“I am grateful to how I have started the season and so far it has been kind to me. It has just been about the hard work and try to improve on my performance last season. I am taking a match at a time and of course I want to win something at the end of the season,” said Olunga.

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Harambee Stars players celebrate Michael Olunga’s goal against Rwanda

He has also been in good form for the national team Harambee Stars and scored three of the four goals in World Cup qualification matches. He scored against Rwanda home and away as well as the lone goal in the 1-1 draw with Uganda.

The Kenyan striker has been in sensational form for the last few years with his scoring form moving higher and higher. Before joining Duhail in January this year, the striker finished as the golden boot winner in Japan with Kashiwa Reysol.

He was also named Most Valuable Player of the league.

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