Everything you need to know about Kaoru Mitoma, Brighton’s Japanese winger who scored the winning goal against Liverpool
Who is the Japanese player who scored the winner against Liverpool?
It is added time, less than four minutes to go, one goal scored each. The ball is launched towards the far post where a Brighton player chips a cross back in the box. Mitoma is standing there as the ball rises above everyone, like a stellar object hurtling through the sky. Instead of smashing the star to pieces, he lets it land angelically on his toe, still on the ground, like a cushion. The ball bounces up and Mitoma’s next touch turns the now oncoming defender into a character from a children’s TV show, falling over comically as the ball is tipped to side, still airborne.
His next touch comes before the ball has had the chance to hit the ground again, a ferocious volley with the outside of his boot sees Alisson wave frantically to reach it, but the stadium has already erupted at their Japanese sensation who might just have scored the goal of the season. Liverpool are out of the FA Cup at the Fourth Round, and Mitoma is the man on everyone’s lips.
Who is Kaoru Mitoma?
Mitoma studied at the University of Tsukuba, 50km northeast of central Tokyo, where he wrote his thesis on dribbling, with one aim on how best to get past an opponent, using a camera placed on his head to collect data.
As far as football is concerned, Brighton signed Mitoma (25) from Kawasaki Frontale in 2021. He played on loan for Belgian side Union SG for a year before returning to the Premier League, where he has become the breakout star of the season so far.
On 13 August he made his debut as a substitute for Brighton in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle and 11 days later made his first start for the club in an EFL Cup win over Forest Green Rovers. His first goal involvement came in a thrashing of Chelsea in his first Premier League start, where he set up Leandro Trossard.
He has played 13 times for Japan, scoring 5 goals. Mitoma got the controversial assist for Japan at the World Cup against Spain, in a move that saw debate rage as to whether or not the ball had gone out of play.
To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?