Toni Payne: Nigerian striker propels Sevilla past Espanyol

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Toni Payne - Sevilla
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The Super Falcons star scored the winner as Las Rojiblancas saw off the Periquitos in Saturday’s league encounter

Toni Payne was Sevilla’s hero having found the net in Saturday’s 2-1 comeback triumph over Espanyol.

With the Primera Division encounter looking destined to end in a 1-1 draw, the Nigeria women’s star netted the winner with 16 minutes left on the clock.

Having suffered a 2-0 defeat to Athletic Club in their last time out, Cristian Toro’s side welcomed the Periquitos with the ambition of ending the season on a high.

Nonetheless, it was the visitors who struck first in the 33rd minute courtesy of Marianela Szymanowski.

Profiting from shambolic defending from the hosts, the Argentine forward sent the ball past goalkeeper Noelia Ramos.

That goal was a reality check for Sevilla; however, they were unable to level matters despite pouring attacks.

Regardless, they went into the half-time break with a one-goal deficit inside Estadio Jesus Navas.

In the second half, Las Rojiblancas were made to work very hard. To cap their impressive display, they equalised in the 51st minute through Raquel Pinel – who profited from an assist from on-loan Barcelona star, Claudia Pina.

With the game now evenly balanced, coach Jordi Ferron’s team pushed harder to regain their lead, albeit, the attacking trio of Cristina Lucena, Irene Calderon and Elba Verges were unable to deliver the goal.

However, Super Falcons star Payne put her team ahead for the first time in the 74th minute thanks to an assist from midfielder Ana Franco.

That proved to be the winner with no more goals in the keenly contested affair as Ferron and her squad returned home with their heads bowed low.

The Super Falcon star’s goal was the 26-year-old’s fifth strike in 33 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign. Subsequently, she was substituted for Sejde Abrahamsson.

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With this result, Sevilla have ended the current season in eighth position after accruing 45 points from 34 games.

For already-relegated Espanyol, they finished the season in 16th place after picking up 25 points from the same number of matches.

Born in the United States of America, Payne’s two-year contract ends in June 2021, and she would be hoping that her contract is extended ahead of the 2021-22 season.