After scoring his 10th Bundesliga goal of the season on Saturday, the Super Eagles striker has regained his confidence and that of his fans
It was a sweet return to form for Taiwo Awoniyi as he scored his 10th Bundesliga goal of the season in Union Berlin’s 3-1 defeat of Mainz 05 FC at the Stadion an der Alter Forsterei on Saturday.
The Super Eagles man had gone on a dry spell for almost a month since he returned from the Africa Cup of Nations.
Awoniyi struck in the 75th minute after receiving a cross from Sheraldo Becker, which he struck past Robin Zentner to make it 3-0.
Japanese midfielder Genki Haraguchi had opened the scoring early in the seventh minute for the Iron Ones before Becker doubled the score in the second half.
Awoniyi’s goal gave the hosts a comfortable ending before substitute Delano Burgzorg gave the visitors a consolation goal late in the game.
After weeks of not finding the net, coach Urs Fischer left Awoniyi on the bench for the game. But the 24-year-old Nigerian came off the bench in the second half in place of Andreas Voglsammer with disastrous effect.
He quickened the pace of the frontline by challenging every ball held by the Mainz defenders. And he was duly rewarded for his hustle with a quarter of an hour left to play.
After scoring the goal, Awoniyi refused to celebrate against his former club. He spent a season on loan at Mainz from Liverpool.
At the end of the game, some Union fans spoke to Soccernet about the impact of the striker.
“He is the best in the world,” one fan told Soccernet.ng after the game.
Another group of fans sang a special song of praise in honour of the player who continues to be Union’s record goal scorer in the Bundesliga.
The Nigerian has taken the club to great heights this season and has become a huge draw for the fans.
Despite his dry spell over the last few weeks, Awoniyi continued to fight for the team on and off the ball. His consistency was rewarded again on Saturday.
After the game, Awoniyi took a lap of honour around the pitch with his toddler son while waving to the fans who kept singing his name.
He will hope to keep the fire burning and continue to lighten up the stadium in Berlin’s Kopernick District.