Football

Taiwo Awoniyi scores brace vs former club Mainz

Taiwo Awoniyi scored a second-half brace as Union Berlin silenced his former club Mainz FC in a German elite division encounter on Sunday.

Taiwo Awoniyi scored a second-half brace as Union Berlin silenced his former club Mainz FC in a German elite division encounter on Sunday.

Still baking in the euphoria of their 3-1 victory over Maccabi Haifa in Thursday’s Uefa Europa Conference League fixtures, the Iron Ones travelled to the MEWA Arena.

There, they were hoping to extend their winning streak in all competitions, while the hosts aspired to return to winning ways following a 1-0 away defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.

However, it was the hosts who took the lead in the 32nd minute through Marcus Ingvartsen, who squeezed a left-footed shot past Andreas Luther after he was set up by Austria international of Nigerian background Karim Onisiwo.

They could have doubled their advantage, however, goalkeeper Luthe was made a smart save from Onisiwo’s effort.

Awoniyi had Union Berlin’s best chance of the half, but he failed to direct Max Kruse’s cross inside the net, as his team went into the halftime break with a one-goal deficit.

Mainz had achieved three clean sheets in their Bundesliga home matches this year and it looked as if they were to register another shutout until both Kruse and Awoniyi wasted golden opportunities to restore parity.

Nine minutes after the hour mark, the 05ers’ wall of resistance was finally broken when Awoniyi combined well to slot Kruse’s fine pass past goalkeeper Robin Zentner, after shrugging off a challenge from David Nemeth.

That goal was his fifth in the 2021-22 German top-flight season as well as Union Berlin’s 100th goal in the top-flight.

Four minutes later, he put his team ahead for the first time as Zentner could not get a hand to his stinging shot.

Mainz attacked en masse but their aspirations of earning at least a draw were dashed when Dominik Kohr was given his marching orders for a second caution.

Eight minutes from full-time, man-of-the-match Awoniyi was substituted for German striker Andreas Voglsammer, with his compatriots Anthony Ujah and Suleiman Abdullahi not listed for action.

For the home team, Angola international Anderson Lucoqui was in action from start to finish but could not prevent Bo Svensson’s side from crumbling at home.

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