Football: Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma scores 4th league goal in Leicester draw

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Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma scored a stunning opener for his fourth goal in the English Premier League on Saturday, earning man-of-the-match honors as Brighton secured a late 2-2 draw against Leicester.

The 25-year-old came in from the left and curled an unstoppable effort from outside the box into the far top corner at King Power Stadium in the 27th minute.

Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma (L) scores the opener in their 2-2 draw at Leicester in the English Premier League on January 21, 2023 at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England. (TBEN)

“I’m always looking for those kinds of opportunities. My pre-match feeling was good too,” said Mitoma after his third goal in four league matches. “I was able to relax because I had space and thought the shot was a nice hole.”

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Marc Albrighton equalized in the 38th minute and Harvey Barnes made it 2-1 for Leicester from a corner kick in the 63rd minute, but 18-year-old Evan Ferguson provided some of the visitors’ points when he headed home Pervis Estupinan’s cross hit the post two minutes from time.

Mitoma missed out on an assist in the 57th minute when an unmarked Solly March completely misread his cut, but the Japanese star continues to thrive under manager Roberto De Zerbi following the Italian’s appointment in October.

“Given our tactics, wide players have to be involved in goals, and that has made me more aware of scoring,” said Mitoma, who established a regular starting place in the squad after the World Cup and replaced Leandro Trossard, who then moved to Arsenal.

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In Scotland, Kyogo Furuhashi scored a double to take his season tally to 20 goals as Celtic beat Greenock Morton 5–0 at home in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

Furuhashi slipped past the goalkeeper in the 21st minute for a 2–0 lead, set up David Turnbull in the 42nd minute and fired Celtic’s fourth from a tight angle in first half stoppage time before breaking free at half-time.

Daizen Maeda and Yuki Kobayashi played the whole game, while newcomer Tomoki Iwata made his Celtic debut when he came on in the second half. Aaron Mooy scored the first and last goals for the home team.

Japanese striker Ayase Ueda scored his eighth league goal in the Belgian Premiership with an opener in the 24th minute as Cercle Brugge secured a late 2–1 victory in Ostend.

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Striker Koki Saito scored his first goal for Sparta Rotterdam, making it 2-0 in the 18th minute in their 3-0 away win against Cambuur in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Wataru Endo provided Serhou Guirassy’s opener in the 36th minute, but Stuttgart were held to a 1–1 draw at home with Mainz in the German Bundesliga. Soichiro Kozuki made his debut for Schalke, playing 74 minutes in a 3–0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma takes on a defender during the first half of a football match against Leicester in the Premier League on January 21, 2023 at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England. (TBEN) ==TBEN

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