The Nigeria international saw 88 minutes of action as the Reds battled their more illustrious foes to a standstill
Super Eagles forward Taiwo Awoniyi has been voted the man-of-the-match following his positive contribution to Nottingham Forest’s credible draw against Chelsea on New Year’s Day.
Nottingham Forest began 2023 on a pleasant note after battling to a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at the City Ground.
Former Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling gave Chelsea the lead after just 16 minutes as Graham Potter’s men made a dream start at the home of the struggling Reds.
But Nottingham Forest fought back admirably and got a deserved equaliser through Serge Aurier shortly after the start of the second half as the Tricky Trees earned a significant point.
Awoniyi was not on the goalscorer sheet but his impact was crucial to the Reds’ impressive result.
As typical, Awoniyi made himself a nuisance for Chelsea’s centre-back pairing of Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly. The Nigeria international managed to get one of his two shots on target while completing 80 per cent of the ten passes he attempted.
With Chelsea hoarding the majority of the possession, Nottingham Forest needed more bodies to help out in defence, a role Awoniyi embraced without complaint.
The former Union Berlin striker won six of the nine ground duels he was involved in.
Awoniyi made a crucial clearance for Forest, blocked one of Chelsea’s numerous shots, and successfully made three tackles.
The 25-year-old attacker was substituted in the 88th minute, making way for Nico Williams.
Forest fans applauded Awoniyi as he made his way off the pitch and many of those went on to vote for the Nigerian as the best player for the Reds against the Blues.
Awoniyi has scored three goals for Nottingham Forest in 15 appearances since joining from Union Berlin.