Nottingham Forest reflect son Aina and Awoniyi’s bittersweet performances against Lesotho and Zimbabwe
Nottingham Forest keenly followed the performances of their two players in the Super Eagles Ola Aina and Taiwo Awoniyi.
Both played in the FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe last Thursday and on Sunday respectively.
While Aina's performance was condemned, Awoniyi's performance was hailed.
Aina endured a rotten appearance for Nigeria on Sunday. The Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw by Zimbabwe in their latest World Cup qualifier.
Walter Musona fired the hosts into a first-half lead in the 26th minute. Nigeria had to wait until the 67th minute to equalise, with Kelechi Iheanacho firing home to spare his country’s blushes.
Aina joined Forest in the summer transfer window from Torino. He was handed a rare start for Nigeria and sadly for him, he failed to capitalise on some strong early season for the Reds.
The 27-year-old was handed the chance to start the game as a right-back for his country. He was hauled off at half-time, however, with Nigeria trailing at the interval.
Nottingham Forest News reports the media has gone into overdrive and Aina didn’t come out of his latest outing with a glowing appraisal, he was scored 4/10.
They said of his performance: “Gave the ball away easily, was culpable of conceding the free kick that led to Zimbabwe’s goal, and was deservedly brought off at half-time.”
Forest fought off competition for the talented defender before they signed him in the summer. Leeds were interested in Aina but Premier League football obviously played a part in his decision.
Aina has been a quality addition to the Forest ranks on a free transfer. He scored his first goal for the Reds earlier this month and was subsequently praised by Dion Dublin.
Forest won’t need to worry about Aina going forward. He’s grown as a player in the Premier League and there will be more to come from the defender as the season progresses.
The verdict about Taiwo Awoniyi contrasts sharply with that of Aina.
Awoniyi was in action for Nigeria on Thursday. The Super Eagles were stunned by Lesotho who held them to a 1-1 draw in World Cup qualification.
Awoniyi has given Forest a bit of a scare. It was announced over the weekend that the player has returned to Nottingham to be assessed after picking up a groin problem during the game.
The 26-year-old has been struggling with his groin this season and has only recently returned to action. As a result, Forest will be hoping that this is nothing serious with their influential talisman.
The striker did okay during his most recent performance for Nigeria, despite their shocking result. Awoniyi was praised by the for his efforts on Thursday night.
Forest star Awoniyi was given a 7/10 for his display: “Despite limited opportunities, he displayed glimpses of impact when chances arose.”
The Reds can’t afford to be without Awoniyi for any longer this season. He’s integral to the team’s fortunes and he scored his first goal since August at West Ham last weekend.