The Nigeria international was one of the heroes for his Croatian side on Sunday, barely a week after a disappointing debut showing
Super Eagles defender Chidozie Awaziem scored a goal many strikers would be proud of in Hajduk Split’s 2-1 triumph over Lokomotiva Zagreb at the Stadion Poljud on Sunday evening.
Awaziem’s goal – his second in club football for over four years – brings the centre-back full circle from being a villain to a hero within a week.
First goal of the season 😍 pic.twitter.com/k9D5bKXYQ0— Chidozie .C. Awaziem (@AwaziemC) August 23, 2022
Awaziem, the villain?
On his debut in the Croatian football league last week, Awaziem committed a schoolboy error that led to Hajduk Split’s 4-1 thrashing at Dinamo Zagreb.
The visitors had taken a first-half lead and looked good for a positive result at the home of the champions.
But a loss of concentration from Awaziem on the hour mark made him lose the ball in the danger area, allowing Baturina to steal in and equalise for the hosts. It was all downhill for Valdas Dambrauskas’ men from that point on.
Awaziem, the hero?
However, Awaziem made amends for that costly mistake a little over half an hour into the clash with Lokomotiva Zagreb on Sunday.
The Nigerian centre-back opened the scoring in style for the Masters from the Sea, and one would have to look twice to be sure it was not a world-class striker who had executed such a fine finish.
Krovinović punted a long free kick forward from the middle of the pitch, which Elez met with a firm touch to redirect it into the penalty area.
There Awaziem was waiting. The 25-year-old somehow took the ball down with his chest, beat two Lokomotiva defenders with his head before slotting it firmly past the goalkeeper into the net with his right foot.
That's how star 🌟 do ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/EnMaHRoU3e— Chidozie .C. Awaziem (@AwaziemC) August 24, 2022
Grgic doubled Hajduk Split’s advantage shortly after, making Kulenović’s second-half penalty for Lokomotiva a mere consolation effort.
Next up for Awaziem and Hajduk Split is the second leg of their Europa League qualifying match against La Liga campaigners Villarreal on Thursday.
Inspired by Super Eagles forward Samuel Chukwueze, Villarreal won the first leg 4-2 in Spain.