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African players in Europe: Zaha stars as he mulls Ivory Coast future

Paris (AFP) – Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season to set up Crystal Palace for a 2-0 victory over Wolves, which lifted the London club to 10th in the table.

Zaha was omitted from the national side’s squad for World Cup qualifiers this month against Mozambique and Cameroon at his request, saying he was considering his international future.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly, who is in the squad, conceded an own-goal in a 2-0 home defeat by Manchester City. 

Here, AFP Sport highlights Africans who starred in the major European leagues at the weekend.


WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Zaha inspired Palace to their third Premier League win of the season as Patrick Vieira’s side tamed the Wolves at Selhurst Park. The 28-year-old forward collected James McArthur’s pass inside the area and curled the ball into the far corner to open the scoring in the 61st minute. 


Salah could not prevent Liverpool’s 25-game unbeaten run in all competitions ending in a 3-2 defeat at West Ham, but played an important role in the Reds’ first goal. The Egyptian was brought down by Declan Rice just outside the area to win the free-kick from which Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a superb 41st-minute equaliser.



Loum helped Alaves maintain their impressive resurgence in La Liga as they won 2-1 against Levante. The Senegalese, on loan from Braga, played 90 minutes at the heart of the Alaves midfield as his team made it 10 points out of the last 12 available with another victory at Mendizorrotza to lie 14th.



Nigerian attacker Okereke handed Venezia their third victory of the season with the winner in a shock 3-2 victory over Jose Mourinho’s Roma. The 24-year-old raced past a dozing Roma backline, collected Ethan Ampadu’s long pass and coolly beat Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio after mugging the Portuguese stopper with a neat feint. It was a third Serie A goal of the season for Okereke, who is on loan from Club Brugge.


RAMY BENSEBAINI (Borussia Moenchengladbach)

Algeria’s Bensebaini was involved in the build-up to his side’s first-half opener in a 1-1 draw at Mainz. Florian Neuhaus prodded in a rebound after Bensebaini’s long-range shot was blocked by Robin Zentner.

TAIWO AWONIYI (Union Berlin)

Nigeria striker Awoniyi missed a sitter in the first half as his side wasted a good chance to go fourth by only drawing 2-2 at Cologne. Awoniyi blasted the ball over the bar from close range after brilliantly shaking off his marker with Union leading 2-1.

IHLAS BEBOU (Hoffenheim)

Togolese forward Bebou missed an early chance to give his side the lead as Hoffenheim slumped to a fifth defeat of the season, losing 2-0 away to promoted Bochum. Bebou was through on goal in the 19th minute, but lobbed the ball over the bar as he attempted to chip goalkeeper Manuel Riemann.


SAIDOU SOW (Saint-Etienne)

The teenage Guinea defender scored in the last minute for a 3-2 win over Clermont after his team had trailed 2-0 with just over 10 minutes left. Sow headed in a corner from Arnaud Nordkin in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Saint-Etienne moved off the foot of the table. Sow, 19, had also scored in the 2-2 draw with Angers last month.


Veteran 30-year-old Mali attacker Coulibaly scored his team’s opening goal in the 2-2 draw against Strasbourg. The 1.97m tall striker converted  a fine pass from Nigerian Moses Simon in the 20th minute in just his second start of the season.

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