LONDON – Japan striker Shinji Okazaki scored his first goal for Leicester City on Saturday, as the club went top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win at West Ham.
Okazaki, who moved from Bundesliga club Mainz in the offseason on a four-year deal, opened his account at Upton Park with a 28th-minute goal dripping in irony. Having earlier in the week held clear-the-air talks with Jamie Vardy after the England international allegedly abused a Japanese man at a casino, the pair linked up on the field in spectacular style.
Vardy’s cross from the left was met by Okazaki on the run and although his volley was brilliantly saved by West Ham keeper Adrian, the Japan international reacted quickly and headed the rebound into the back of the net.
“I really wanted a goal, and I got a great ball (from Vardy),” Okazaki said. “We cooperated together towards what we were aiming for. Whether I could score or not was the problem I needed to solve.”
The Foxes doubled their lead in the 38th minute through Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez’s third goal of the season, set up by Okazaki and Marc Albrighton.
West Ham pulled one back on 55 minutes through Dimitri Payet, and Okazaki limped off the field on the hour mark after suffering a first-half injury.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.