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Nigeria’s Awoniyi sets new landmark as Union Berlin cruise past Frankfurt

19:54 SAST 2022/04/17
Nigeria Taiwo Awoniyi and Union Berlin.
The 24-year-old Super Eagle grabbed his 13th goal of the season to help the the Iron Ones secure vital win in Bundesliga

Nigeria international Taiwo Awoniyi set a new mark for Union Berlin as they registered a 2-0 Bundesliga victory against Eintracht Frankfurt at Stadion An der Alten Forsterei on Sunday.

The 24-year-old scored the opener for his side in the 17th minute before Grischa Promel drilled home the second in the 20th minute of the entertaining fixture.

Awoniyi’s effort saw him become the first player from Union Berlin to score 13 goals in a Bundesliga season.

Players who have scored more goals in the Bundesliga than Awoniyi this season include Anthony Modeste of FC Koln (16) - Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig (17) - Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund (18) - Patrik Schick of Bayer Leverkusen (20) and Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich (32).

Awoniyi went into the game having failed to find the back of the net in Union Berlin’s 4-1 thrashing of Hertha in their last league assignment on April 9 and he almost scored when his glancing header from a Sheraldo Becker cross hit the woodwork with goalkeeper Jens Grahl rooted to the ground.

However, in the 17th minute, Awoniyi put the home side ahead after darting into the box to latch on to a cross before burying the ball into the bottom right corner, leaving keeper Grahl stunned.

Awoniyi could not celebrate immediately as referee Frank Willenborg indicated he was going to review the goal using VAR after alleging there was a foul in the build-up, and after taking a long period to study the incident, he finally allowed the effort to stand.

Four minutes later, Union Berlin went 2-0 up, this time Promel met a ball outside the box, and without thinking twice, he fired a brilliant shot inside the right post that whizzed beyond the stretching hands of Grahl.

It should have been 3-0 for Union Berlin in the 27th minute after Rani Khedira found space inside Frankfurt’s danger zone but his weak effort did not trouble Grahl, who punched it out for a fruitless corner-kick.

With the game heading to the half-time break, Khedira combined well with Awoniyi but the former’s header was saved by the diving Grahl.

In the second period, Union Berlin continued to dominate against a Frankfurt side who looked tired following their 3-2 victory against Barcelona in the Europa League at Camp Nou on Thursday.

In the 63rd minute, Awoniyi launched a fine solo run deep into the box, but it came to nothing as his shot flew high over the bar. Frankfurt started to come into the game, as Filip Kostic squandered an open chance to reduce the deficit, shooting straight into the waiting hands of goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow.

Apart from the 13 goals achieved from 27 appearances, Awoniyi, who was replaced by manager Urs Fischer in the 80th minute for Sven Michel and joined the German side on a permanent deal from Liverpool at the start of the season, has also registered one assist.

Awoniyi and Union Berlin will next face RB Leipzig in the semi-finals of DFB-Pokal on April 20 at Red Bull Arena before they return to league action against the same team and at the same venue on April 23.