Awoniyi Scores First Bundesliga Goal as Mainz Hold Cologne

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By Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report

Taiwo Awoniyi scored his first Bundesliga goal in Mainz’ 2-2 away draw with Cologne at the Rhein Energie Stadion yesterday. It was the second day of the resumption of the German topflight after the hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mainz have their African pair of Awoniyi and Cameroon born Pierre Kunde Malong to thank for the comeback and the valuable road point in Cologne.

Before the good run of the African ambassadors, Mark Uth fired Cologne into the lead in just the sixth minute from the penalty spot, and Florian Kainz doubled the hosts’ lead early in the second half.

But Awoniyi who is on loan from Liverpool reduced the arrears with his second touch few minutes after he came on from the bench. He guided Baku’s cross into the net in the 61st minute for his first goal in Bundesliga.

That goal appeared to have fired the Cameroonian midfielder, Kunde, into leveling scores for Mainz to share the spoil.

Kunde waltz all the way through the midfield into the penalty box before coolly side-footing past the advancing, Horn, in goal for Cologne.

Müller thwarted Jhon Cordoba, and Leistner headed wide as Mainz held on till final whistle.

The Leon Balogun’s former club Mainz are on same 27 points as Augsburg to occupy the 14th and 15th spots ahead of other game later yesterday.

There are just eight rounds of fixtures remaining to end the Bundesliga.

The German top flight became the first major European league to return since football was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, with six fixtures on Saturday and a further two matches played yesterday.

All games were played under heavy precautions laid out by the German Football League.

A strict hygiene and safety protocol, including the banning of crowds, was necessary to get the go-ahead from political authorities.

Earlier on Saturday, Erling Braut Haaland scored for Borussia Dortmund as they marked the return of the Bundesliga in the 4-0 derby win over Schalke.

There was an eerie atmosphere at Dortmund’s iconic Signal Iduna Park stadium, with every shout by players or coaches audible, and social distancing protocol followed by substitutes and during goal celebrations.

Haaland opened the scoring with a trademark cool finish, flicking home Thorgen Hazard’s cross to continue his sensational season, albeit after an enforced break of almost 10 weeks.

Raphael Guerreiro added two more goals and Hazard also found the net as Dortmund went on to claim a comfortable 4-0 win over their near neighbours and move within a point of leaders Bayern Munich, who played yesterday.