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Football | Nigeria

Onazi impresses in Lazio draw



Nigerian midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi was impressive for Serie A club, SS Lazio in Monday night’s 1-1 draw against AS Roma in the Rome derby.

Onazi was introduced from the start by the Lazio trainer, Vladimir Petkovic as the Sky Blues got off to a flyer with Brazilian, Hernanes putting Lazio in front with a rasping drive from outside the box on 16 minutes.

There were temporary fears that the Nigerian may fail to complete the game as he found himself at the end of a bad tackle from Roma’s Brazilian defender, Leandro Castán in the 38th minute.

The 20-year-old however spent just a few seconds on the sidelines before getting back into the fray after prompt attention from the Lazio medical staff.

The former El-Kanemi Warriors man continued to impress as his timely intervention a minute after the break prevented Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi from racing clear on the Lazio goal.

With the score tied at 1-1, Onazi took up responsibility in the 78th minute with a mazy run that left two Roma defenders in his wake before he was stopped at the edge of the opponent’s penalty.

Onazi was hardly a regular fixture at Lazio following his move from My People FC in 2011 but has now installed himself as a first-team player after his successful 2013 Afcon expedition with African champions, Nigeria.

He recently told supersport.com that life in the Italian capital has been far from easy while also explaining how he has tried to deal with the pressure of playing for the top club.

“The Italian league is very difficult to play in. It is even more difficult for young players to cope but things have been going well for me.

“I have a few friends with a lot of experience at the club. They speak to me and advise me on the areas where I make mistakes.

“Also, training (on a daily basis) alongside important players like Hernanes, Mauro Zarate, Cristian Brocchi and Miroslav Klose is something that should be experienced rather than explained.

“I have grown a lot as a man and as a footballer and I intend to continue in this path,” he added.

Onazi has made 11 appearances for the Biancoceleste this season.

He has scored once for the club, a stupendous effort in the Uefa Europa League game against VfB Stuttgart on March 7.

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