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Exclusive: Liverpool loanee Awoniyi remains focused on Mainz after debut goal

Taiwo Awoniyi has credited hard work for helping him break his duck with Mainz upon the Bundesliga's return.

Awoniyi joined the Bundesliga club last summer on a season-long loan from Liverpool.

He had played just 146 minutes prior to Mainz's clash with FC Koln under a fortnight ago.

It was the first Bundesliga match since the coronavirus pandemic froze the competition in March, and Awoniyi made the most of his rare chance.

Tthe Nigerian forward was brought on as a substitute for Dong-won Ji after 56 minutes, and with his side down 2-0, Awoniyi latched onto Ridle Baku's pass to score his first goal for the club.

Speaking about the goal to, the 22-year-old said: "Glory be to God, I felt very happy about the goal, but the most important thing is the success of the club. It was really a great feeling for me due to reason best known to me.

"As a player the only thing you just have to do, is keep working very hard and hopefully your chance will come by. You cannot give up.

"It was a normal player and coach reactions. We were 2 - 0 down and ended up drawing the game. Everyone was happy."

The moment vindicated Awoniyi's decision not to leave Mainz in January, which he confirms was an option for him.

He added: "I had quite some options to leave in January but I personally chose not to leave."

Awoniyi joined the Reds in 2015 but has been unable to obtain a work permit ever since.

During the last five years he has spent time on loan at FSV Frankfurt, NEC, Gent and two spells at Royal Excel Mouscron.

The Merseyside club remain in regular contact and Awoniyi says he will decide on his future at the end of the season.

"We are always in contact but presently I'm a player of Mainz05 and that's where my focus is now and we will see what happens at the end of the season."

Despite his goal, Awoniyi failed to win a start in Mainz's following match on Saturday, a 5-0 loss to RB Leipzig.

But Awoniyi is staying strong about his appearances from the bench.

"Like I said earlier the most important thing is for a player to keep working very hard, whether he is a striker or goalkeeper and leave the rest in God's hands. God controls everything.

"I believe in life that there are things you can't control, but you can always control yourself in terms of your goals in life and just remain focused.

"In terms of form, I just have to continue working very hard and see where it leads at the end, but it was a great time in Mouscron in Belgium."

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