1FC Union Berlin of Germany striker, Taiwo Awoniyi led the way on a night several Nigerians hit the back of the net, as the UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup top scorer made hay in the maiden UEFA Conference League, megasportsarena.com reports.
Awoniyi scored a brace and provided an assist as Union Berlin cruised to a 4-0 win over KuPS of Finland in the play-off game in Helsinki, where the former Liverpool fringe player started the first-half goal fest with a sixth-minute opener.
A few minutes later, Awoniyi supplied Max Kruse to double Berlin’s lead in the 29th minute and then hit the net again two minutes later, as he delivered a five-star performance in the first-half of Thursday’s encounter.
After the restart, the 24-year-old was replaced on the hour-mark as the Iron Ones maintained their first-half dominance and Andreas Voglsammer made it four on the stroke of full-time, while two other Nigerians were in action on the opposing side at Helsinki Olympic Stadium.
Henry Uzochokwu started for the Finnish club and he received a yellow card in the 36th minute, his compatriot Aniekpeno Udoh was an unused substitute against Awoniyi, who last Saturday scored his first of the season as The Iron Ones were held to a 1-1 draw by Bayer Leverkusen.
Awoniyi, who returned to Stadion An der Alten Firstere in a full transfer in July, after impressing on loan last season, will hope to continue his scoring form when Union travel to TSG Hoffenheim for their next German Bundesliga fixture on Sunday.
Also on Thursday night, this time in a Europa League playoff first leg tie, Abdullahi Shehu was in action for Omonia Nicosia of Cyprus, as they romped from behind to earn a 4-2 win over Alhassan Yusuf’s Royal Antwerp of Belgium.
Shehu provided the assist for Omonia’s third goal in the 55th minute and former under-23 Eagles’ star, Iyayi Believe Atiemwen got off the bench to wrap up scoring in the 84th minute.
In Azerbaijan, Yusuf Lawal was involved In a six-goal thriller at Bakcell Arena, where the home team, FK Neftchi squandered a two-goal lead with twelve minutes remaining to draw 3-3 with Maccabi Haifa of Israel.
Lawal got a brace and an assist for the Azerbaijani champions, as the 23-year-old bagged a scorcher from outside the box for 1-1 in the 50th minute, played a give-and-go before beating the goalkeeper in the 66th minute to make it 2-1 and got an assist in the 72nd.
In Turkey, Sivasspor had Olarenwaju Kayode and Leke James in their starting line-up but suffered a 2-1 defeat to FC Copenhagen of Denmark, but James was in the right place the score from the rebound after his header was blocked by a defender in the 59th minute.
In the UEFA Conference League play-off, MSK Zilina of Slovakia were thrashed 5-1 in an away game against Jablonec at Stadion Strelnice, where Taofiq Jibril netted a consolation for the visitors 15 minutes from time.