Awoniyi shines as Union Berlin seals capital’s bragging rights over Hertha


Taiwo Awoniyi impressed as Union Berlin cruised to an excellent 4-1 win over Hertha Berlin in the German capital to boost their chances of securing a European spot in May.

The capital clash pitted two teams experiencing different fortunes against each other, with the hosts battling to avoid the drop and their visitors in the mix for European qualification.

17-goal hero Awoniyi scored in Union’s 2-0 win at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei in November. The 25-year-old striker was at the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria’s Super Eagles when the Iron Ones claimed a 3-2 victory at the Olympiastadion Berlin in the DFB Pokal on January 19.

And with two wins already in their bag in two derbies, Union Berlin were the sharper and more confident of the two teams in the opening stages on Saturday.

Hertha Berlin dominated more of the possession of the ball, but Union Berlin created the better chances, winning several corner kicks in a row.

Niko Giesselmann and Sheraldo Becker at different times sent ferocious shots on target but Hertha goalkeeper Marcel Lotka, who was enjoying another brilliant game, made some excellent saves to keep the level of score.

But Lotka had no answer for Union’s opener when he arrived at the half-hour mark. Genki Haraguchi timed his jump perfectly to place himself on the end of a fine cross from Becker, directing the ball inside the right post.

On the stroke of half-time, Awoniyi thought he had won his team’s second of the evening.

The former Liverpool signing produced a fantastic shot from the edge of the box after a brilliant solo run. The ball was heading towards the middle of the goal, but Marcel Lotka made an amazing save. The fans were almost celebrating this goal.

But all of Union Berlin’s best work in the first half was thrown away four minutes after the break when Timo Baumgartl missed the ball into his own net to make it all over the place.

But the visitors recovered quickly and returned to the lead four minutes later thanks to a fine header from Grischa Promel.

Awoniyi’s attacking partner Becker added a third for Union in the 74th minute as the visitors showed they were a class ahead of their City rivals.

Andreas Voglsammer came on for Taiwo Awoniyi in the 82nd minute and three minutes later Sven Michel made it 4-1 for the top-flight Berliners.

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