Nigerian forward David Okereke has explained his thought process when conjuring up his stunning solo strike that proved to be the winning goal for Venezia in their Serie A clash away to Empoli on Saturday.
Okereke, on a season-long loan from Belgian champions Club Brugge, had made his Serie A debut on August 27 in Venezia’s 3-0 thrashing in the hands of Udinese.
But at the Stadio Carlo Castellani in Empoli, manager Paolo Zanetti introduced the 24-year-old forward in the 67th-minute for midfielder Antonio Vacca with the visitors leading thanks to Thomas Henry’s fine first-half finish.
And moments later, Okereke received a simple pass from Henry in his own half and ran the whole way to the edge of the Empoli box, sidestepping three or four opposing defenders before slotting the ball home with his left foot.
It’s a brilliant individual effort that a significant section of the Italian media compared with George Weah’s famous solo goal for AC Milan against Verona on September 8, 1996.
But Okereke insists he was not thinking of the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year when he made his way towards the Empoli goal. Instead, it was because his teammates were nowhere near to receive a pass.
“The action (for the goal) I did it all by myself because there was no one there,” the ex-Spezia ace told Dazn, as per Calcio Mercato.
“I’m very happy with how it ended. In training camp, it helped us being together by creating the group.”
Nedim Bajrami’s late penalty ensured a frantic finish to the encounter, but Okereke’s goal ultimately earned newly-promoted Venezia their first win and points of the 2021-22 Serie A campaign.