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African players in Europe: Rodgers hails hat-trick hero Iheanacho

Paris (AFP) – Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first Premier League hat-trick at the weekend as he took his Leicester City goal tally to five from three matches.

“I’m delighted for Kelechi,” said Leicester coach Brendan Rodgers. “I see improvement in him and, day by day, he trains so hard.”

It was also the first time the 24-year-old, who joined the Foxes in 2017 from Manchester City, netted in three consecutive league matches.

Here, AFP Sport rounds up the performances of African stars in the major European leagues:



His hat-trick inspired a 5-0 thrashing of bottom club Sheffield United. Iheanacho opened the scoring with a close-range finish in the 39th minute and netted again after 69 minutes from another Jamie Vardy assist. He wrapped up his treble with a long-range rocket in the 78th minute.


The Gabon forward was sensationally dropped ahead of a 2-1 win over north London rivals Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta left his captain on the bench as an unused substitute after he reportedly turned up late for a pre-match team meeting.



Cameroon defender Nyom was sent off for a nasty tackle on Atletico Madrid’s Renan Lodi. Despite the former West Brom and Watford right-back’s 70th-minute dismissal, Getafe held on for a goalless draw with the league leaders to move five points clear of the relegation zone.


The Morocco star scored a brilliant first-half winner in the Seville derby against Real Betis to move his team six points clear in fourth place in La Liga. The 23-year-old’s 20th goal of the season came in the 27th minute, controlling Jesus Navas’ long pass before rounding Betis goalkeeper Joel Robles and sliding in from the tightest of angles.



Gambia’s Barrow paved the way for 12th-placed Bologna’s 3-1 win over Sampdoria, nodding in the first goal after 27 minutes to score his sixth goal of this Serie A campaign. The 22-year-old Atalanta loanee also went on a blistering run through midfield to set up Mattias Svanberg for the second goal.


Ivorian Traore scored the winner nine minutes from time in a 3-2 success over Europa league rivals Hellas Verona. Traore pounced on a poor clearance two minutes after Verona had equalised to seal victory with his third league goal this season.

SIMY (Crotone)

Nigeria’s Simy continued his fine form with a second consecutive brace, but Crotone fell 3-2 at Lazio. The 28-year-old got the first after half and hour and added another from a penalty five minutes after the break.



Nigeria’s Simon gave Nantes a famous 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in an eventful match which could help keep his team in the French top flight next season. The 25-year-old tapped home Randal Kolo’s square pass in the 71st minute.


The 25-year-old’s last-gasp strike for Lyon in a disappointing 1-1 draw at Reims turned out to be a pretty important goal following defeat for PSG and the goalless draw between Ligue 1 leaders Lille and Monaco. The Zimbabwe forward headed home a Memphis Depay cross in the second minute off added time to bag his 10th goal of the season and snatch a draw for his team, who are level on points with PSG and just three behind Lille.


EDMOND TAPSOBA (Bayer Leverkusen)

The Burkina Faso defender failed to stop Japan’s Ritsu Doan from scoring the opening goal as Bayer Leverkusen slumped to a shock 2-1 home defeat to struggling Arminia Bielefeld. Doan beat Tapsoba to a Christian Gebauer cross to give Bielefeld a first-half lead.

KASIM ADAMS (Hoffenheim)

The Ghana defender scored an own-goal in his side’s 2-0 defeat to local rivals Stuttgart. Adams turned Silas Wamangituka’s cross into his own net early in the first half to put Hoffenheim on their way to a first league defeat in over a month.


The Democratic Republic of Congo winger was involved in both goals as his side extended their unbeaten run to five games with a 2-0 win over Hoffenheim. After setting up Adams’ own-goal in the first half, Wamangituka grabbed his fourth assist of the season when he squared the ball to Sasa Kalajdzic.

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