Paris (AFP) – Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha made an immediate impact on his return to the English Premier League after testing positive for coronavirus, scoring twice in a 5-1 rout of 10-man West Bromwich Albion.
The brace from the Ivory Coast star took his season goal tally to seven from nine matches as he once again demonstrated is huge value to the Eagles.
Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Cameroonian Joel Matip both scored as Liverpool celebrated the return of spectators to Anfield with a 4-0 whipping of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Here, AFP Sport rounds up the performances of African stars in the major European leagues at the weekend.
WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)
Zaha provoked Darnell Furlong’s own-goal to give the visitors an early lead before Matheus Pereira’s red card left the Baggies a man light for over 55 minutes. The Ivorian took full advantage by brilliantly curling into the far corner before tapping home a loose ball from close range.
MOHAMED SALAH, JOEL MATIP, SADIO MANE (Liverpool)
Salah opened the floodgates as Liverpool celebrated the return of 2,000 fans to Anfield for the first time since they were crowned English champions after a 30-year wait with a 4-0 win over Wolves. Defender Matip made it 3-0 when he headed home Salah’s cross and Mane also played his part despite going a sixth straight league game without a goal for the first time in his Liverpool career. The Senegalese seemed set to sweep home Liverpool’s fourth until Wolves defender Nelson Semedo slid in and turned the ball into his own net.
The Moroccan goalkeeper gift-wrapped Real Madrid victory on his return to the Sevilla line-up following a four-match absence after testing positive for coronavirus. As Vinicius Junior stretched to reach a low cross, a distracted Bono spilled the ball into his own net in the first half of a 1-0 loss.
FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan)
Ivory Coast midfielder Kessie was in imperious form as AC Milan continued their unexpected bid for a first league title since 2011 with a 2-1 win at Sampdoria. The 23-year-old coolly put away the penalty that gave Milan the lead on the stroke of half-time, sending Stefano Pioli’s side on their way to a hard-fought win that ensured they kept hold of their five-point lead over local rivals Inter Milan at the top of Serie A.
ACHRAF HAKIMI (Inter Milan)
The Moroccan international starred in a 3-1 win over Bologna that temporarily put Inter just two points behind leaders Milan. Hakimi, who joined the title chasers from Real Madrid, put Inter two goals ahead just before the break at the San Siro when he latched on to Marcelo Brozovic’s fine long pass, and made sure of the points with a superb individual goal with 20 minutes remaining.
TAIWO AWONIYI (Union Berlin)
The Nigerian striker gave his side the lead in the Berlin derby, but 10-man Union were ultimately beaten 3-1 away to city rivals Hertha. Set up by a brilliant pass from Marcus Ingvartsen, Awoniyi slotted the ball past Alexander Schwolow to put Union in front on 20 minutes.
AMADOU HAIDARA (RB Leipzig)
The Mali midfielder set up Justin Kluivert for Leipzig’s second goal in a thrilling top-of-the-table 3-3 draw with champions Bayern Munich. Haidara released Kluivert in the box to draw Leipzig level after Bayern had come from behind to lead 2-1 in the first half. The result kept Bayern two points ahead of Leipzig.
SILAS WAMANGITUKA (Stuttgart)
The Democratic Republic of Congo winger scored both goals in his side’s 2-1 win at Werder Bremen, but was booked for unsportsmanlike conduct for the way he scored the second. After converting a penalty in the first half, Wamangituka pounced on a defensive error in stoppage time and slowly walked the ball into the open net to seal the three points. The provocative finish earned him a yellow card and prompted a furious reaction from his opponents, with Bremen striker Davie Selke calling it “disrespectful”.
FARID BOULAYA, JOHN BOYE (Metz)
Algerian Boulaya, who made his international debut in October, had an early penalty saved before he scored a late consolation as Metz lost 3-1 at home to Lyon. Veteran Ghanaian defender Boye was sent off near the end after a clash with Lyon’s Marcelo at a set-piece.
KARL TOKO EKAMBI (Lyon)
The Cameroon forward scored twice and provided the assist for Memphis Depay’s opener as Lyon won for the sixth time in seven games in Ligue 1. Toko Ekambi has scored seven goals during that run. He blasted a left-foot strike into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 before applying a cool finish for his second after running in behind the defence.
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