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Maja Equals Ekoku’s 28-year-old Premier League Record

 

The Cottagers’ forward is the second Nigerian player to find the net twice in his first English elite division start

Josh Maja’s brace for Fulham against Everton in the Premier League on Sunday means that the Bordeaux loanee has equalled a Premier League record that has stood for 28 years.

In netting twice in the 2-0 defeat of Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees, Maja became only the second Nigerian player in the English top-flight to hit a double on his first start in the competition.

The only other Nigerian player to do this was Efan Ekoku, who achieved the feat on May 8, 1993, when he scored on two occasions as Norwich City played out a 3-3 draw at Middlesbrough.

The Cheetham Hill-born Ekoku signed for the Canaries in 1993, when the Carrow Road giants were in the thick of a battle for the English top-flight title under the management of Mike Walker.

After leaving Norwich a season later, Ekoku played for Wimbledon, Grasshoppers, Sheffield Wednesday, Brentford and Dublin City, where he drew the curtains on his football career.

Getting his first start for Scott Parker’s team at Goodison Park, Maja put his side ahead – beating goalkeeper Robin Olsen after combining well with compatriot Ola Aina.

The 22-year-old got his second of the night in the 65th minute after tucking home when Harrison Reed struck a shot which hit the woodwork and fell to him.

“It is a big one, we came into the game wanting to win it and not had the results we wanted. We are very happy with the win,” Maja told BT Sport after the game.

“We took our chances when it came and put in another good performance again, we want to continue like this. For the whole 90 minutes, the guys worked hard and stuck to the gameplan.

“This is a night I have been dreaming about for a long time, especially last night and I had a feeling it was coming and pleased it became a reality.

“Wins give the fans and players confidence and we want to take it into the next game.”

Maja will look forward to continuing his impressive showings when Fulham take on Burnley in their next Premier League outing on February 17.

As it stands, Parker’s team sits in the 18th spot after garnering 18 points from 23 games in the ongoing 2020-21 campaign.

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