Taiwo Awoniyi responded to being left out of the Nigeria squad by scoring once to propel Union Berlin to a 2-1 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday afternoon.
The former Liverpool man – who has been in fine goal scoring form this season – was excluded by coach Gernot Rohr, when he announced his 30-man squad for September’s World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde.
Heading into the fixture, the Iron Ones had gone on a run of 14 games without losing, with their last outing a 0-0 draw versus KuPS in a Uefa Europa Conference League encounter.
For the visitors, they played out a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in the German elite division.
As expected, the game got off on a competitive note as both teams tried to take an early lead. However, it was the hosts who took the lead in the 22nd minute, courtesy of Niko Giesselmann.
Left unmarked in Monchengladbach’s area, he sent a looping header past goalkeeper Yann Sommer from Genki Haraguchi’s well-taken cross.
Adi Hutter’s men fought hard in search of an equalizer, nevertheless, that did not happen as they missed few scoring chances that came their way.
Four minutes before the half-time break, Union Berlin sent fans inside the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei into a frenzy, as Awoniyi doubled his side’s advantage.
Having linked up brilliantly with Max Kruse, the former Nigeria youth international made a superb driving run before finding the target.
Before the end of the first 45 minutes, the Colts made their way through a solid Union Berlin backline, but Hannes Wolf and Jonas Hofmann were denied by fine saves from goalkeeper Andreas Luthe.
Not willing to accept defeat, Manager Hutter made two changes early in the second half – introducing Patrick Herrmann and Denis Zakaria.
They reduced their deficit in the 90th minute through Hofmann, but that proved to be a consolation as they returned home empty-handed.
After 73 minutes of action, Awoniyi – who now boast five goals in his last five games – was subbed off for Kevin Behrens, whereas, his compatriots Anthony Ujah and Suleiman Abdullahi were not listed for action.
Thanks to this win, Union Berlin now occupies the Eighth spot on the log, having accrued five points from three matches. They will be hosting Augsburg in their next outing on September 11.