Super Eagles midfielder was on the score sheet to help his Italian side Lazio secure a hard fought 3-2 home victory over a 9-man Saint-Etienne on Thursday in their second group G fixture of the ongoing Europa League campaign.
Bayal Sall put the visitors in front just after six minutes of play but the Nigerian international pounced before the interval to restore parity at half time.
Two second half goals from Wesley Hoedt and Biglia gave Lazio a comfortable two goal cushion before the late scare by Monnet-Paquet which could only prove a consolation for the Ligue1 side as Lazio held on to secure a 3-2 victory.
Onazi and his team-mates needed a boost after conceding a last-gasp equalizer in Ukraine against Dnipro and had to do so without Stefan de Vrij, Antonio Candreva, Miroslav Klose and Filip Djordjevic.
Saint-Etienne in their last continental fixture were stalemate specialists, holding Rosenborg 2-2 and last season drawing the opening five Europa League fixtures.
Lazio got off to a disastrous start as a low Romain Hamouma corner bounced off Moustapha Bayal Sall’s stomach to bundle over the line from close range, almost by accident. It was nearly 2-0 on 14 minutes from another corner, as Nolan Roux’s looping header bounced off the crossbar.
Lazio did draw level, as Felipe Anderson burst down the right and his deflected cross was controlled and smashed in on the half-volley by Eddy Onazi.
The game turned again with a very controversial decision, as Saint-Etienne forward Beric received a straight red card for use of the elbow. However, if anything it was Mauricio who headbutted the back of his arm, leaving him with a bloody nose.
Lazio turned the game around three minutes after the break when Ruffier struggled to punch a Lucas Biglia free kick before Hoedt smartly turned in the loose ball from a tight angle with the outside of the left boot and moments later, St-Etienne went down to nine men after Sall’s second bookable offence on Felipe Anderson.
Lazio added a third goal, as Ruffier again only palmed a Keita Balde Diao effort and Lucas Biglia turned in the rebound but St Etienne despiteplaying with nine men still got back into it with a goal to make it 3-2 at the Olimpico with a delightful chip from substitute Kevin Monnet-Paquet with six minutes left on the clock.
There could have been a late drama as Vincent Pajot almost made it 3-3 when his header skimmed the far post before Ruffier stuck out a leg to deny Lazio’s Alessandro Matri.