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Soccer News of Friday, 6 January 2023


Awoniyi closes in on Haaland goals record

Taiwo Awoniyi Taiwo Awoniyi

Taiwo Awoniyi is one goal shy of Erling Haaland goalscoring record for the most goals scored first from open play in the Premier League so far this season, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The Nigerian was on target to help Nottingham Forest get off the bottom three with a nervy 1-0 win at Southampton on Wednesday.

Awoniyi slid in Brennan Johnson’s pass after 27 minutes to score a vital goal that lifted his team from the relegation zone.

It was his fourth league strike in the ongoing Premier League campaign, which has seen him score first on four occasions in the EPL, a stat bettered only by Manchester City striker Haaland and Harry Kane, who have managed to open the scoring five times in more different league games this season.

Moreover, all four of Forest’s league wins so far this season have been 1-0, with Awoniyi netting the winner in three of those.

Meanwhile, the former Union Berlin striker has called on his teammates not to stop fighting.

“We’ve been looking for this for a long time, and the gaffer was saying to us that we have to improve our away form, and we’re happy to have the three points,” Awoniyi told the club website.

“You have to work hard in every game in the Premier League, and you’ll see the results if you keep going and keep fighting.

“We’re still in the process of becoming the team we want to be, and we can’t stop now that we’re out of the bottom three. We have to keep going, keep believing, and fight for each other.

“It was a good press from the team for the goal, Brennan was brilliant with his energy and speed to get the ball into the box, and I just had to be there to finish.”

Forest’s coach, Steve Cooper, also echoed Awoniyi’s call to keep fighting even though the games are not going to be easy.

“It’s a reference point for sure. Getting out of the bottom three is something we’ve wanted to do,” Cooper said, as quoted by Sky Sports.

“It’s easier said than done, we know how hard these games are. We’ve just got to continue and take it step by step, with the culture and togetherness.”

“I challenged the players not to shy away from the fact that we’ve not picked up enough points away from home. And we’re going to have to start doing that.

Forest are scheduled to face Blackpool in an FA Cup tie on Saturday before taking on Wolves on January 11.