Nigeria’s forwards let their goals do the talking last weekend, with Taiwo Awoniyi and Victor Osimhen silencing Liverpool and Jose Mourinho respectively, and clearly no African nation possesses the firepower of the Super Eagles at the moment.
Elsewhere, Baba Rahman made an encouraging return to action for Reading in the Premier League Championship, while Brian Brobbey starred as Ajax Amsterdam extended their lead in the Dutch Eredivise table.
Awoniyi has not had an easy start to life at Nottingham Forest after his £17m transfer from Union Berlin, for whom he scored 15 goals in the German Bundesliga last season. He had not previously played in the English Premier League, nor demonstrated that he could maintain good goal-scoring form beyond a single season, and fought hard to convince a Forest team in transition after a string of summer signings.
His goal against Liverpool this weekend – kicking home from close range after his opening shot hit the post – was just his third in nine Premier League matches, but there was enough about his performance and Forest’s unlikely victory to fuel optimism that the Midlanders could beat the slump.
Awoniyi was a threat to Liverpool’s defenders throughout the match, and he stood out with his clumsy and physical – albeit a little clumsy – play forward. He interrupted Joe Gomez’s recent revival with his directness and intensity of movement, the England defender eventually getting a yellow card for crossing the line of legality when trying to deny his former teammate.
Awoniyi’s thwarted and forgettable history at Liverpool made his 55th-minute victory even sweeter.
The forward came to Merseyside directly from the Imperial Football Academy of Nigeria, having been scouted by former Super Eagles midfielder Seyi Olofinjana.
It was a dream move for the teenager, but he hasn’t managed to make a senior appearance in six years at the club. Instead, he found his playing time on loan in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium before being sold permanently in 2021, with the explanation that he would struggle to get a UK work permit, generously overshadowing the relative mediocrity of his development. in Europe.
The goal and final whistle were extremely emotional moments for Awoniyi, who celebrated as if Forest had already secured his safety before explaining what it meant for him to score against the club that gave him his big break.
“Scoring against Liverpool is a day I will never forget,” said the forward.
“I will always be grateful to Liverpool for watching me in Nigeria and scoring against them is amazing.
“This kind of game we have to look back on and build on it. The game is over and now we focus on the next one.
“For me I’m happy, but the most important thing is the three points. Now we have to build on that.”