From inspired substitutions to goals galore and play-making glory, African footballers continued to make their mark across football leagues in Europe in the latest round of fixtures. However, it was not all smooth sailing as some results were adversely affected by unfortunate events such as own goals and red cards. We take a look at highlights from across European leagues.
Senegal’s Sadio Mane scored a goal while Egypt’s Mohamed Salah set up another as Liverpool beat Aston Villa 2-0 in what was their first win as Premier League champions. Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho scored for the second consecutive games as Leicester City stayed in the race for a Champions League spot with a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace.
In the Championship, Algerian striker Said Benrahma scored a hat-trick as Brentford maintained their slim hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier League with a 3-0 win against 10-man Wigan while Côte d’Ivoire forward Yakou Meite scored four goals for mid-table Reading in their 5-0 win against relegation threatened Luton Town.
Meanwhile, a penalty by Ghana’s Andre Ayew earned Swansea a 2-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday while Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi scored and was then sent off in West Brom’s 4-2 win against Hull City.
Nigerian Nnamdi Oboforh was on target for Wycombe Wanderers who took a commanding 4-1 win away against 9-man Fleetwood Town in their League One playoff semifinal first leg. Wycombe would eventually progress 6-3 on aggregate after a 2-2 draw.
Gambian strikers Musa Juwara and Musa Barrow were both on target as 10-man Bologna recovered from a goal down and a sending off to stun 10-man Inter Milan 2-1 at the San Siro. Juwara, a second half substitute, was instrumental in Bologna’s fightback scoring the equalizer and getting Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni sent off shortly before Barrow’s winner.
Two Côte d’Ivoire midfielders were on song for their sides in Italy. Seko Fofana scored a goal and assisted another as Udinese were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Genoa while Jeremie Boga kept up his fine string of performances for Sassuolo scoring in a 4-2 win over Lecce.
However, their compatriot Koffi Djidji of Torino was unlucky to be on the end of a 4-1 defeat to Serie A champions Juventus in the Turin derby in which he scored an own goal.
SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
In Spain, Moroccan defender Zouhair Feddal earned Real Betis a 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo while in neighbouring Portugal, Mali striker Moussa Marega scored his third goal in three games as Porto thrashed Belenenses 5-0 and his compatriot Falaye Sacko set up the only goal in Vitoria Guimaraes’ 1-0 win against Portimonense.
Nigerian Bright Edomwonyi set up Maximilian Sax to score the only goal in Austria Vienna’s 1-0 win over Mattersburg while Mali’s Mohamed Camara scored a penalty in injury time to seal RB Salzburg’s 3-0 win over LASK Linz.
Tunisian Imed Louati found the net in Hobro’s 3-2 home loss against Randers FC in the Danish Superliga as league leaders FC Midtjylland survived the dismissal of Nigerian Ogochukwu Onyeka to edge Nordsjaelland 1-0.
Senegal’s Papiss Cisse scored once and DR Congo defender Fabrice N’Sakala set up two goals as Alanyaspor thumped Ankaragucu 4-1 while Cisse’s fellow countryman Demba Ba was on target for league leaders Basaksehir who won 2-0 against Antalyaspor.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Jean Micheal Seri scored a penalty while Algerian Sofiane Feghouli was sent off for Galatasaray in their 3-1 defeat to home to Trabzonspor. Uganda’s Farouk Miya converted an injury-time penalty; his first goal after a lengthy injury lay off, as Konyaspor edged Rizespor 1-0 in a relegation battle. Kevin Prince Boateng of Ghana set up the only goal for Besiktas in their 3-1 loss to Kayserispor.
In Bulgaria, Gambian Ali Sowe’s second half strike earned CSKA Sofia a 1-1 draw against runaway Parva Liga leaders Ludogorets while in the Czech Republic, Côte d’Ivoire midfielder Ibrahim Traore was on target for 1. Liga leaders Slavia Prague in a 3-1 win against Slovan Liberec.
In Estonia, Malian midfielder Sadio Tounkara’s strike was not enough for his side Trans Narva as they lost the Estonian Cup final 2-1 to favourites Flora.
In Latvia, Nigeria’s Toluwalase Arokodare netted a late equaliser as second-from-bottom Valmeira came from two goals down to force a 2-2 draw against Spartaks Jurmala in the Optibet Virsliga while South African Kgotso Masangane was on the score sheet in a 3-1 win for Metta/LU against Tukums. DR Congo striker Jordan Nkololo scored the second goal in Riga FC’s 3-1 win against BFC Daugavpils.
19-year-old Nigerian Emmanuel David came off the bench to complete the scoring in a 2-0 win for Lithuanian side Kauno Zalgiris over bottom-placed FK Panevezys in the A Lyga while Norwegian side Sarpsborg 08 ended a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 win against Sandefjord in which Malian Ismaila Coulibaly scored.
In Slovakia, Gambian midfielder Alieu Fadera came off the bench, scored and was then sent off in Pohronie’s 2-0 win away to Nitra while Ghanaian Sharani Zuberu opened the scoring in Dunjeska Streda’s 2-0 win against Zilina. In Slovenia, Gabon striker Ndzengue Fahd scored after coming on in the second half of Tabor Sezana’s 2-1 defeat away to Domzale in the Prva Liga.
In Sweden, Nigerian Moses Ogbu set up a goal for Mjallby in a 1-0 win against lowly Ostersunds while Adama Fofana of Côte d’Ivoire was the match winner for Varbergs against Kalmar. Meanwhile, Swiss side Lugano slipped to a 3-0 away defeat to Young Boys courtesy of two own goals by Côte d’Ivoire defender Yao Eloge and a strike from Guinea defender Mohamed Camara.