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Awoniyi had 'Koulibaly on toast' in man of the match performance for Nottingham Forest against Chelsea

13:41 GMT+4 02/01/2023
Taiwo Awoniyi and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Nigeria forward Taiwo Awonyi was named man of the match after his display for Nottingham Forest in the 1-1 Premier League draw against Chelsea.
  • Awoniyi beat Aurier to the award after the Chelsea draw
  • He had an excellent game and was replaced in the 88th minute
  • Awoniyi has scored three league goals for the promoted side

WHAT HAPPENED? The 25-year-old Super Eagle was a handful for The Tricky Trees as they came from behind to snatch a point against the Blues at the City Ground on Sunday.

Awoniyi troubled Chelsea's defence, led by Cesar Azpilicueta and Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly. His superb run from the left wing resulted in the corner which Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier scored from to level matters.

Forest fans were challenged to pick their man of the match in a poll on the club's Twitter handle, and Awoniyi, who was withdrawn in the 88th minute for Neco Williams, got 39.7% of the votes ahead of Aurier, who managed 28.4%.

WHAT DID THE FANS SAY? The fans then described Awoniyi's display as one that deserved maximum points from the top-flight fixture.

"I will be honest and say I have been critical of him [Awoniyi], but today [Sunday] he played well and deserved man of the match," wrote Geoff Large while Rick Degg explained: "Great display closely from Awoniyi followed by Ryan Yates and Willy Boly but thought they all put in a good effort."

Julie Burrows opined: "Awoniyi ran himself into the ground, good, strong player. Well done!," Pete Sargent said:

"Played well tonight was a constant handful for Chelsea’s defence 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻," and while Arron Maltby opined: "Definitely, had an excellent game and more than kept us in the game. Well done big. The guy is an absolute unit."

Gavy Moan added: "Fantastic performance from the big man! Deserved more than a single point today!"

Koulibaly was the Chelsea defender who caught the most flack, and @callumcasteln the following to say:

Meanwhile, @SidneyC73 wrote: "Awoniyi showed today he’s a baller. If Brennan Johnson had looked up a couple of times, Awoniyi had an easy goal or two. No complaints though. We move forward."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Against Chelsea, Awoniyi - who moved to the City Ground from Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin at the start of the season - managed to win six duels, had two shots with one on target, recorded five touches in the Blues' box, created two chances and won three tackles.

So far, he managed 15 league appearances for the Tricky Trees and scored three goals, making him the club's top league scorer. Awoniyi opened his goal account in the 1-0 victory against West Ham United on August 14, and also scored the winner against old club Liverpool on October 22.

WHAT NEXT FOR AWONIYI? He will hope to keep his form when Nottingham Forest visit St. Mary's Stadium to take on struggling Southampton in a league fixture on Wednesday.