Former Super Eagles striker Peter Utaka scored twice on Sunday morning to help his Japanese League 2 side Ventforet Kofu win 3-2 at Zweigen Kamazawa and embolden their hopes of achieving promotion to the elite league.
Ventforet shot into the lead on 28 minutes when Kazuhiro Sato opened scoring at the Ishikawa Athletics Stadium but the homeside leveled up four minutes later via Giovanni Clune’s penalty.
Kamazawa added a second in the 38 minutes through Yuki Kakita and went into the break with their lead.
It took Utaka just four minutes after restart to score and the Nigerian striker added the winner in the 75th minute to ensure all three points.
Utaka, the younger brother of ex-Nigerian international John Utaka, has now scored 18 goals for the season and sits joint third on the scorer’s chart.
Ventforet, with the win, have moved into sixth in the table, taking the last play-off spot although they’re level on 59 points with Mito Hollyhock and Fagiana Okayama.
With just seven games to the end of the season, Ventforet are peaking at the right moment as they remain unbeaten their last four games.
Utaka will be waiting to increase his goals tally when Ventforet play host to 21st-placed Tochigi next Sunday.