Goals are the bread and butter of every striker and for Kyrian Nwoko, Saturday’s brace against Pieta’ Hotspurs turned out to be a crucial step both for his club’s fortunes but more importantly in his personal process to rediscover his best form.
On Saturday, the 25-year-old forward showed that he has lost none of his scoring touch when he netted two-well taken goals to propel Santa Lucia to a crucial 2-1 win over Pieta Hotspurs that kept alive his team’s hopes of securing 12th place in the Premier League.
In fact, following Saturday’s win, Santa Lucia have now bridged the gap on rivals Żebbuġ Rangers to three points, with five matches to go.
“This was a very important victory for us,” Nwoko told the Times of Malta.
“We knew that nothing less than a win would keep alive our hopes of reaching the play-out spot and hopefully this victory will fill us with confidence for our upcoming matches. During the match, we tried to exploit our opponents’ weaknesses and play to our best.
“Things seemed to be going wrong for us as after we had Rodolfo Soares sent off, we conceded the equaliser. But the players rallied together and we managed to pull through together to get the winner as we knew that the draw was not a good result for us.”
During the last few weeks, Santa Lucia had shown a remarkable improvement in their performances, even against better quoted teams, but lapses of concentration have cost them dearly.
Nwoko said that Sta Lucia should focus to try and create their own luck.
“It’s true that in several matches we played well but some lapses of concentration cost us some crucial points,” Nwoko said.
“During the last three matches, we were quite unlucky not to win matches. We had great performances but when we ended up conceding the goal it was inevitable that it hits hard our morale. The coach has been consistently telling us that we should always keep fighting in these difficult times and our perseverance was rewarded last weekend with the win against the Hotspurs.”
For Nwoko, this is his first full season since his decision to retire from the game in November 2021.
The former Valletta striker said that lack of motivation was behind his decision to halt his playing career. But now that he is back he is determined to reach the same levels of performance that saw him become a regular member of the Malta national team.
“At the end of 2021 I was passing through a difficult time and I lacked the necessary motivation to play the game at the best of my level,” Nwoko said.
“I needed a break from the game but now I am ready to get back to my best. To be honest, I never thought that it would take me so long to recover my sharpness but it has been a long process. When in January I had the chance to join Sta Lucia I took it with both hands as it was a perfect opportunity to play more games.
“My goal is to return to the same level I had a couple of years ago and I feel that thanks to my coach at Sta Lucia and my teammates, I’m heading in the right direction. The fact that I was named by the Malta coach was an added boost as it shows that he believes in my ability and I will keep working hard to return to my best.”
Santa Lucia’s quest for survival faces another crucial test next weekend when they face fourth-from-bottom Sirens and Nwoko says the target remains the same.
“We are not looking at the standings at the moment,” he said.
“We are just approaching each of the next five matches as if it was a final and trying and win all of them. Hopefully, we can do enough to reach the play-out spot.”
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