Going into the game, Nwankwo stood on the cusp of setting a new feat as the Nigerian with the most Serie A goals to his name, a record previously held by former Super Eagles and Inter Milan striker, Martins.
However, it took him 42 minutes to get going as his simple tap-in from close range restored Crotone’s lead after Parma’s Hernani had cancelled out Lisandro Magallán‘s opener.
Adam Ounas added a third for Crotone on the stroke of halftime but their advantage was quickly wiped off with two rapid goals from Gervinho and Valentin Mihăilă in the 49th and 54th minutes respectively.
With the game poised at 3-3, Nwankwo’s moment arrived.
Crotone were awarded a penalty on 69th minute and the Nigerian stepped up to convert in his usual skip and jump run-up fashion.
“It’s an honour in a very difficult league like Serie A,” he said after the game.
During his five-year stint at Inter, Martins scored a total of 28 league goals in 88 matches, while Simy needed 77 games to reach this milestone.
Simy dusts Aiyegbeni’s record
It wasn’t only Martins’ record that Simy broke on Saturday, Aiyegbeni also suffered the same fate.
By scoring his 19th goal of the season, Simy is now the Nigerian with the most goals in a single season in any of the top five European leagues – EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1.
Aiyegbeni had held this record since 2011/2012 Premier League campaign when he netted 17 times for Blackburn Rovers.
Why Simy can’t be happy
Despite his goal scoring, record breaking run this season, the Nigerian is still dissatisfied with his team’s lack of good fortunes.
Crotone are rooted to the bottom of the Serie A table with only 18 points to show for their efforts after 33 round of games, and will require a miracle to stay in the topflight.
Although Simy has been their only positive story of the season, his 11 goals in the last eight games have done little to move them up the table.
When he was asked about his personal achievement thus far, the Nigerian says “It’s a strange moment. I cannot be happy. It’s true on an individual level I’m doing well, but it’s not enough, because the team is what matters.”
“Today we brought home a victory we’ve deserved for a long time and I hope we can close the season with dignity,” Simy told Sky Sport Italia.
He’s now the third leading scorer in the division behind Cristiano Ronaldo with 25 and Romelu Lukaku 21 goals.