International

African trio star in top European leagues

2018-01-15 18:38
Sadio Mane (Supplied)

Paris - Egyptian Mohamed Salah, Senegalese Sadio Mane and Kenyan Michael Olunga starred on a great weekend for Africans across the major European leagues.

Salah and Mane scored for Liverpool as they ended the 22-match unbeaten English Premier League run of leaders Manchester City with a 4-3 triumph.

Substitute Olunga became the first Kenyan to score a hat-trick in the Spanish La Liga as he starred for mid-table Girona in a 6-0 thrashing of bottom club Las Palmas.

ENGLAND

SADIO MANE (Liverpool)

The 25-year-old lashed in Liverpool's third goal from the edge of the area in a thrilling 4-3 win against runaway leaders Manchester City, proving emphatically that there is life at Anfield after the departure to Barcelona of Philippe Coutinho.

MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)

Salah returned from injury and played a key role in a dazzling attacking display from Liverpool against City. The 2017 African Player of the Year set up a goal for Mane and then scored his 25th of the season for club and country to give his side a 4-1 lead.

SERGE AURIER (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Ivory Coast defender had an impressive outing in the 4-0 rout of Everton, his excellent low cross finding Son Heung-Min for Tottenham's opener and then the 25-year-old was twice involved in the wonderful move that led to Christian Eriksen's goal that rounded off the scoring.

BAKARY SAKO (Crystal Palace)

The Malian international scored the only goal of the game against Burnley, the 29-year-old's left-foot shot beating Nick Pope for his third league goal of the campaign.

JORDAN AYEW (Swansea)

The Ghana international, 26, gave the Swans the lead in their relegation six-pointer at Newcastle with his third goal in five matches, nodding home the rebound after his header had been saved.

WILFRIED BONY (Swansea)

The Ivory Coast striker has not enjoyed a successful return to the club where he was a hit first time around -- form that earned him a big-money move to Manchester City. The 29-year-old, who has scored just twice since returning from City in August, should have won the game for Swansea against fellow strugglers Newcastle but his shot was cleared off the line.

SPAIN

MICHAEL OLUNGA (Girona)

Olunga had a day to remember as he came off the bench to score a hat-trick in Girona's historic 6-0 win over struggling Las Palmas. His performance even drew praise from Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who tweeted his congratulations to the 23-year-old.

GERMANY

NABY KEITA (RB Leipzig)

The Guinea midfielder showed why Liverpool want him at Anfield before next season with a superb goal in Leipzig's 3-1 win at home to Schalke. The 22-year-old has agreed a contract with Liverpool for next season and Leipzig insisted he will not be leaving before the end of the season after his sweetly-hit shot from outside the box showed his class.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Borussia Dortmund)

The Gabon striker was dropped by Borussia, who sorely missed his finishing in a 0-0 home draw against Wolfsburg. Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger said the star striker missed "an important team meeting" and Aubameyang's place went to Swedish teenager Alexander Isak. It is the third time in two seasons that Aubameyang, the top Bundesliga scorer last season, has been disciplined by Dortmund.

LEON BALOGUN, ANTHONY UJAH (Mainz)

Mainz's Nigeria internationals were victims of racist abuse during a 3-2 defeat at Hanover 96. Visitors Mainz threw away a two-goal lead before Balogun took to social media to reveal racist abuse by the home fans. "Anthony Ujah and I were insulted by monkey noises from the Hanover 96 fan block while we were warming up," Berlin-born Balogun said on Twitter, which Ujah retweeted. "I'm shocked that such behaviour exists in 2018 in the Bundesliga, where players of differing backgrounds, skin colours and religions fight daily for their fans."

FRANCE

NICOLAS PEPE (Lille)

Pepe's first-half goal handed Lille a 1-0 victory at Caen and also prompted the dismissal of home goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre, who took umbrage at the Ivorian winger's exuberant celebration. Vercoutre was incensed by Pepe's 'robot' dance in front of the home fans and argued furiously with the goalscorer over what he felt was a provocation.

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