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Awoniyi bounces back as Union Berlin list three Nigerians

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The Nigerian forward was the villain last time out, but he reacted beautifully to almost leading the Irons to victory

Taiwo Awoniyi netted a first-half penalty, but Union Berlin could not hold on to win as Stuttgart forced a late 1-1 draw in their Bundesliga game week 26 contest on Saturday.

Union Berlin named three Nigerian attackers to their matchday squad as Suleiman Abdullahi, recalled midway into his year-long loan deal at Eintracht Braunschweig, joined Anthony Ujah and Awoniyi in the home side’s 19-man roster.

Only Awoniyi made the starting eleven, though, with manager Urs Fischer keeping faith with the Super Eagles striker despite scoring the own goal that condemned them to the defeat at Wolfsburg last weekend.

And the former Liverpool signing repaid the gaffer’s faith when he broke the deadlock from the spot four minutes before the interval.

Ex-Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos handled the ball in the area, and Awoniyi sent goalkeeper Florian Mueller the wrong way from the resulting penalty.

It is now 11 Bundesliga goals for Awoniyi and his second strike in 2022 following his strike in the 3-1 triumph over his former employees Mainz 04 on February 26.

Awoniyi was replaced midway into the second half with Union coasting home, but Sasa Kalajdzic struck a late equaliser to earn a share of the spoils for the visitors. Ujah and Abdullahi did not make it off the bench. 

Any hope Awoniyi had of finishing the campaign as the Bundesliga’s highest goalscorer as long been squashed, with Bayern Munich’s goal machine Robert Lewandowski far ahead of the chasing pack with 28 goals. Trailing behind the Polish striker is Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick on 20 goals and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland on 16.

Awoniyi is seventh on that list, with eight rounds of matches left this season.

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