Nigeria Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi scored the goal that condemned Arsenal to the runners-up place in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
Awoniyi's goal also came as a big boost to Nottingham Forest's chances of remaining in the Premier League next season after a season spent battling relegation.
Awoniyi with his family after scoring the winning goal against Arsenal at the City Ground.
The Nigerian striker was elected Nottingham Forest Man of the Match!
💪❤️ #NFFC pic.twitter.com/ihPqGseIzK
— Ojora Babatunde (@ojbsports) May 20, 2023
It was a thriller for both sets of fans at the City Ground, with the home crowd hoping that their team could get back at the visitors for the humiliation in the reverse fixture while the away fans crossed their fingers for a good result ahead of Manchester City versus Chelsea.
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal: As it Happened
Arsenal travelled to Nottinghamshire with the hopes of sealing a victory at the Premier League returnees' ground to keep their title challenge going.
They met a resolute defence set up by Steve Cooper, who was fighting to save his team from the drop into the EFL Championship, only a year after their miraculous ascent back into the English football top flight.
Nottingham Forest knew that three points would guarantee them safety so they started with particular intensity, going long with all their passes, throws and set pieces with hopes of finding their big record signing, Awoniyi, in the box.
Taiwo Awoniyi's 5 goals in his last 3 matches singlehandedly secured Nottingham Forest's Premier League status.
But my guy won't trend cuz he's not Kane or Haaland. Naija for life! 🇳🇬🦅 pic.twitter.com/qbNQuVn30x
— Uncle Wilson. (@iam_wilsons) May 20, 2023
Arsenal struggled to deal with these balls but managed to dominate possession for most of the game, creating and almost finishing a number of chances of their own in the opening minutes.
Captain Martin Ødegaard would make an error which led to Morgan Gibbs-White locating Awoniyi. The AFCON qualifiers 2023 squad hopeful finished past the onrushing Aaron Ramsdale to give Forest the lead in the 19th minute.
That goal would seal all three points for the Tricky Trees, who will now be playing Premier League football next season.
The Nigeria national football team striker's goal also confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions for the third straight time with one game left to play.
Awoniyi, Dennis Secure Premier League Spot Ahead of AFCON 2023 Qualifiers
Taiwo Awoniyi and Emmanuel Dennis will live to play another season in England's top flight despite the stark disparity in the quality of their side and the rest of the league.
Awoniyi's decision to move to the City Ground despite being courted by teams with a better Premier League pedigree was talked down on by the Nigerian football news scene as well as fans who watched him feature prominently alongside Victor Osimhen and Kelechi Iheanacho in the U-17 Nigeria national football team that won bronze at the 2015 U-17 AFCON and the 2015 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
However, his decision looks to have paid off as not only is he the main man in the team, he is now a more sought after striker after proving he can do it as a small fish in a big pond.
Taiwo Awoniyi with the opener against Arsenal 💥
His 10th goal of the season for Nottingham. 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/fAnx8Z29NG
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) May 20, 2023
Emmanuel Dennis, on the other hand, benefits from the AFCON 2023 squad hopeful's ability and fans will hope he can get more chances to show what he is made of next season.
Peseiro will surely be making some last minute changes to his squad list, which is expected in the coming days.
Awoniyi is now on course to hit double digits for Nottingham Forest in his first campaign with the Reds. You can bank on that happening, using the insights to play along and earn big rewards. Use the Betway sign up code and 1xbet promo code if you're a new user in Nigeria.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 week ago