Yuseke Ueda is one of the Illawarra Premier League’s most dangerous attacking weapons and it took him only a matter of seconds to show why against Port Kembla on Sunday.
The Japanese gun hit the back of the net just 10 seconds into his club’s crucial showdown at Wetherall Park before playing an instrumental role in Olympic’s demolition of the Zebras.
He’d finish with a hat-trick to help Olympic to a convincing 4-1 victory which sees them rise to the top of the competition.
The treble takes the striker’s tally to 15 goals from 14 IPL matches this season and had rival coach Noel Spencer singing praise post match.
“I think we were torn apart by a little bit of brilliance,” Spencer said.
“Ueda is the best striker in the league I feel. I think they had four chances and four goals.
“That’s the difference in quality when you execute at that level, you are going to get punished.”
Olympic coach Rob Birkin added that he ‘couldn’t speak highly enough’ of his attacking talent, who had the visitors on the front foot from the outset.
Ueda fired past Brad Jardine with one of the first kicks of the game and had a double inside the first 15 minutes.
The striker curled a sensational effort into the bottom after a polished Olympic move that was started in midfield by skipper Brendan Fordham.
Port gave themselves some hope of a revival when Cameron Morgan got a goal back in the 24th minute with a classy half volley.
But it did little to stop the Ueda show.
Olympic’s talisman sealed his treble 14 minutes after half time with another top finish to put his side in the box seat to take the points.
They’d seal the result in the first minute of stoppage time through Stefan Dimoski. The final blow proved to be a crucial one as it allowed Olympic to move past Bulli on goal difference into first spot on the ladder.
“It is a good feeling,” Birkin said.
“The boys were saying [after the game] and highlighted that themselves so they know where they stand.
“It has been a three horse race for a long time and that will continue all the way home I think.”
For Port, the loss sees them slip three points behind Wollongong United in the race for the last finals spot.
United also have a much up their sleeve to play against Kemblawarra Fury.
“It makes it difficult now,” Spencer said.
“We wanted to replicate what we did first round with points and pick up points where we didn’t. We have started off exactly where we were in round one.
“It is disappointing but it makes it a massive challenge going away to Picton next week. We need to regroup. We’ve always, we win together and lose together.”
In other matches, Wollongong United beat Picton Rangers 2-0, Woonona defeated Cringila 2-1 and South Coast United shocked Albion Park White Eagles 1-0.
On Sunday, Kemblawarra Fury overcame Corrimal Rangers 3-0.