African players in Europe: Salah, Mane, Pepe star


Paris (AFP) – Egyptian Mohamed Salah, Senegalese Sadio Mane and Ivorian Nicolas Pepe shared the glory among the African stars in Europe at the weekend.

Salah scored with an unstoppable shot from outside the box to complete a 2-0 win for Premier League leaders Liverpool over Chelsea after Mane had nodded the first goal.

Pepe took his Ligue 1 goal tally for the season to 19 by scoring once and also provided two assists as Lille stunned runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain 5-1.

ENGLAND

SADIO MANE (Liverpool)

He set Liverpool on their way and settled some nerves after a goalless first half by taking advantage of being unmarked to head in Jordan Henderson’s pin-point chipped cross at the back post. For the 27-year-old Senegalese star it was his 18th Premier League goal of the campaign, his best return in his time in England and a reflection of his often unsung contributions to his club sides.

MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)

Played a major role in Mane’s goal and added a glorious second minutes later with an unstoppable drive from outside the area for his 22nd goal of the campaign and 19th Premier League strike. The 26-year-old’s celebrations were worth the admittance fee as he knelt on one knee and later kissed the turf. It was a perfect riposte to the Chelsea fans who chanted an Islamopbobic song about him prior to last Thursday’s Europa League clash with Slavia Prague.

VICTOR WANYAMA (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Kenyan powerhouse midfielder has found holding down a regular starting position this season tough through a mixture of injury and form. However, he showed his old sparkle in scoring Spurs’ first in their routine 4-0 humbling of relegated Huddersfield, benefitting from Fernando Llorente pulling an opposition defender with him. The 27-year-old Wanyama profited by getting the better of Tom Hamer and slotting the ball home.

SPAIN

STANLEY CHUKWUEZE (Villarreal)

The Nigerian scored after seven minutes as Villarreal climbed out of the La Liga relegation zone with a 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Girona. However, a tough battle lies ahead for Chukwueze and his teammates as they are just two points above endangered Valladolid.

ITALY

KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)

Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly bagged a brace as Napoli beat Chievo 3-1 to delay Juventus’ bid to win Serie A and condemn the Verona side to relegation. Koulibaly, 27, headed in the opening goal in the 15th minute and claimed his first double nine minutes from time. “We are angry. We want to show another face of Napoli,” added Koulibaly, following his first goals this season, after losing 2-0 to Arsenal in a Europa League quarter-final first leg.

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