Felix Afena-Gyan thanked Jose Mourinho after the teenage sensation opened his Roma account with a stunning brace off the bench to sink Genoa 2-0 in Serie A on Sunday.
Afena-Gyan enjoyed a fairytale outing, the 18-year-old substitute scoring twice to ruin Andrey Shevchenko’s debut as Genoa head coach.
With the score deadlocked at 0-0, Afena-Gyan was introduced by Mourinho in the 75th minute and turned the match on its head, breaking the deadlock seven minutes later.
After sprinting to celebrate with Mourinho, the Ghanaian forward then sealed the victory with a sublime strike in the fourth minute of stoppage time at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
“I thank God for this opportunity he gave me, the team, the coach, the fans, players for their amazing support,” Afena-Gyan told DAZN.
“I also want to say thank you Mom, she is in Ghana, I love you.”
It was a memorable night for Afena-Gyan, who became the first player born after January 2003 to score at least one goal in Serie A.
Afena-Gyan ticked off a number of feats – the youngest player to score more than one goal in a match in this season’s top-five European League (18 years, 10 months and two days), youngest foreign player in Serie A’s three-point era (since 1994-95) to score for Roma, youngest foreign player to net more than once for the Giallorossi in Serie A since 1994-95, while he is the first Ghanian to score for the capital club.
Afena-Gyan added: “Mourinho is a great person, a great manager and a great coach. He gives you the motivation to learn every day. I am very happy he is here.
“Tonight is a dream come true. It was my first goal, I was hoping for a very long time. I want to continue my performance, prove myself and do more in future.”
Afena-Gyan was making only his third appearance for Roma, having been introduced to the senior side by veteran boss Mourinho in Rome.
“I had promised to buy Felix the boots he really likes, which are really expensive, they cost €800, so he ran over and told me not to forget! Tomorrow morning, the first thing I do is buy him the boots,” Mourinho told DAZN.
“I am sorry for Mister [Daniele] De Rossi and the Primavera squad, but Felix will stay with us. The Primavera work close to us, so Felix and another four or five players have come across to the senior squad.
“What impressed me the most was his cool head in front of goal. If he is not in terms of technique fantastic, he does have a strong mentality.
“You get these kids now who think they know everything, but he is humble and you can sense he just absorbs all this information from everyone around him. That’s fantastic.”
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