Irankunda’s praise for fellow Reds youngsters after 19-minute blitz of Melbourne City

WATCH: Nestory Irankunda fired home a stunning free-kick in Adelaide United's clash with Melbourne City.

Nestory Irankunda opened up his 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season account in style, firing home an incredible long-range free-kick to give Adelaide United the lead over Melbourne City on Sunday evening, but his comments afterwards taught us a lot about the 17-year-old sensation.. READ THE FULL MATCH REPORT HERE

Hours after Bruno Fornaroli scored a Goal of the Season contender, Irankunda responded in tremendous fashion at Coopers Stadium.

Adelaide won a free kick on the edge of the area in the 14th minute of the contest, which the teenage attacker stepped up and curled it into the top corner off a two step run up.

He capped it off in only the manner that he can, bringing out his trademark backflip celebration.

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Featured image: Antonis Pagonis on X

“I had two chances to take the free kick,” Irankunda said post-game on Paramount+.

“I had the first one, I missed. I obviously kept my head up. Carl (Veart) had the faith, Zach (Clough) had the faith, the whole team had the faith in me to take the second one. So I took the second one and just hit it, I guess.

“It was a good goal and I’m happy with it… I didn’t really see the goalkeeper standing still.

“To be honest, after I hit it, I just ran off because it felt like it was going in, so I had that feeling. I was already running off celebrating… Obviously, if the keeper didn’t move, then it must have been a great free kick.”

And social media lit-up in the aftermath of Irankunda’s goal, which included a brilliant reverse angle shot of the free-kick from freelance football writer Antonis Pagonis, that was posted on X.

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In his second A-Leagues start, Irankunda played 72 minutes before he was replaced by Bernardo for the final 18 minutes.

Adelaide were only up 2-0 when he was taken off, with another four goals coming in the final 15 minutes (plus four minute of stoppage time) to wrap up the 6-0 victory.

Irankunda went over to celebrate with the rest of his teammates when they piled on the hurt for their opponents, including good friend Musa Toure, who scored his first Adelaide goal.

“I’ve played with these boys, in the reserves and NPL for like three years now,” he said.

“They all helped me out, when I first started off here and obviously built that friendship along the way and we’ve had faith in each other the whole way.

“We’re young still, but we’re confident and we want to keep winning.”

And Toure marked his first goal with the same backflip celebration Irankunda has made famous over the last couple of seasons.

“I don’t think Carl (Veart) really cares,” he said about the celebrations.

“Obviously he knows we’re just having fun trying to bond with each other and obviously it’s a good celebration. Gets the crowd up on their feet and makes the people happy.

“So we’re going to keep doing it until I break a leg, I guess!”

This season shapes up as an important one in Irankunda’s career, especially with the added responsibility of being a fully-fledged starter.

The 17-year-old understands he needs to “keep his feet on the ground” and praised his teammates for helping him do so.

“It’s hard to keep my feet on the ground,” he said.

“But I’ve got good role models on the team, especially the older boys, they lead us by example, especially (Ryan) Kitto, the captain, helps me out a lot. I guess he’ll give me the confidence to keep going even though like there’s a lot of pressure, I just try not to pay attention to it.

“I’m happy with the way I’ve dealt with it so far.”