African players in Europe: Mane stars in dramatic Liverpool win
The chances of Sadio Mane succeeding Mohamed Salah as African Footballer of the Year increased at the weekend after another superb performance in a dramatic Premier League win for Liverpool.
While Egyptian Salah was substituted, Senegalese forward Mane created the equaliser and scored the winner as the Reds recovered to win 2-1 at Aston Villa and retain a six-point lead over second-place Manchester City.
Another African to excel in the major European leagues was Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored his 50th goal for Arsenal, but Wolves fought back for a 1-1 draw.
SADIO MANE, MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
Mane was Liverpool's hero once more as Salah struggled in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa. Salah was substituted with his side trailing 25 minutes from time, but Mane inspired the comeback by crossing for Andy Robertson to equalise on 87 minutes. The Senegalese then headed home the winner himself deep into stoppage time.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)
Aubameyang was Arsenal's captain for the day and scored his 50th goal for the club, but it was not enough for the Gunners to take all three points as Wolves secured a 1-1 draw at the Emirates. Only six players in the club's history have reached a half century of Arsenal goals quicker than the Gabon international, who took just 78 games to reach that milestone.
YOUSSEF EN-NESYRI (Leganes)
His goal for Leganes could not prevent the team throwing away their lead in a 2-1 defeat by Eibar. The Moroccan forward capitalised on a penalty area scramble to prod home his first goal of the season in the sixth minute but Leganes could not hold on and remain bottom of La Liga.
Gervinho has been one of the key reasons why Parma have managed to keep their heads above water since returning to Serie A last season following their financial meltdown in 2015. The Ivorian scored 11 goals as the two-time UEFA Cup winners finished just clear of the relegation zone last year and he struck his third of the current campaign to ensure a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina and 10th place. The 32-year-old used his blistering pace to connect with Juraj Kucka's raking long pass before slotting the opener past Bartlomiej Dragowski.
AMINE HARIT (Schalke)
Moroccan midfielder Harit chose an apt moment to return to form, scoring the winner for the visitors in the 82nd minute as Schalke defeated Augsburg 3-2. Harit’s stunning solo strike will be a contender for goal of the year.
ACHRAF HAKIMI (Borussia Dortmund)
Dortmund defender Hakimi has continued his stellar run of late, emerging as one of the most potent attacking options at Signal Iduna Park. The Real Madrid loanee asked constant questions of the Wolfsburg defence and laid on a superb assist for Thorgan Hazard to get the home side’s first in a 3-0 win.
FRANCOIS KAMANO (Bordeaux)
The Guinea attacker scored his first goal of the season as Bordeaux beat Nantes 2-0. The 23-time international instinctively fired home inside the box after a tidy pass from South Korea forward Hwang Ui-jo as his side rose to sixth.
DENIS BOUANA (Saint-Etienne)
The Gabon winger scored the crucial goal as Saint-Etienne edged Monaco 1-0 to claim their third win in four games under new coach Claude Puel. The 24-year-old has been in fine form since Puel's appointment in early October, finding the net twice and claiming two assists.
© 2019 AFP