African players in Europe: Zaha ends 1,245-minute goal drought
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Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez scored in the English Premier League at the weekend, but the most significant goal from an African star was struck by Wilfried Zaha.
His goal could not prevent mid-table Crystal Palace losing 2-1 at home to leaders Liverpool, but it ended a morale-sapping 1,245-minute goal drought for the Ivorian winger.
Zaha, one of 30 nominees named Sunday for the 2019 African Player of the Year award, wasted a late chance to snatch a second equaliser when he blazed over from close range.
WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)
Ivory Coast international Zaha, 27, scored his first goal of the season for Crystal Palace in their defeat against leaders Liverpool, ending a period of 1,245 minutes on the pitch without finding the net.
SADIO MANE (Liverpool)
Senegal forward Mane, 27, put Liverpool ahead shortly after half-time at Palace. Mane's shot, which hit both posts before spinning over the line, was his 12th of the season.
RIYAD MAHREZ (Manchester City)
Algerian international Mahrez, 28, turned the game against Chelsea on its head with a jinking run and finish into the far corner, a goal that turned out to be the winner in a 2-1 victory. It was his third Premier League goal of the season in his first league appearance since early October.
YOUSSEF EN-NESYRI (Leganes)
En-Nesyri scored a stunning early goal but it was not enough to prevent Leganes losing at home to Barcelona. The Moroccan forward cut inside from the right and unleashed a shot into the top left-hand corner at Butarque, only for Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal to give Barca a 2-1 victory. En-Nesyri now has three goals in as many games for Leganes, who remain rooted to the bottom of La Liga.
MUSA BARROW (Atalanta)
Barrow got his first start for Atalanta but missed an early penalty in a 2-1 loss to champions Juventus. The 21-year-old Gambian rattled the crossbar after 17 minutes following a spot-kick awarded for a Sami Khedira handball. Barrow redeemed himself with the cross that allowed Robin Gosens to nod in a goal for the home side before being substituted.
FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan)
Ivorian international Kessie came on for struggling AC Milan as a second-half substitute in a 1-1 draw against Napoli, having being overlooked by new coach Stefano Pioli for the past two league games. Despite a solid performance, the 22-year-old midfielder came under fire from Milan fans on social media after being photographed sitting in the locker room in the San Siro alongside two teammates before the game looking at their mobile phones.
KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)
Senegal defender Koulibaly proved solid for Napoli to ensure the southerners left AC Milan with a point. Koulibaly blocked a late goal-bound effort from Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek to keep Napoli seventh, five points off the Champions League places.
ANTHONY UJAH (Union Berlin)
Nigerian Ujah scored his second goal of the season as Union Berlin stunned league leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach with a 2-0 win. Ujah headed home in the 15th minute from a trademark Berlin counter attack and remained a constant threat for the home side before being subbed off to rapturous applause in the 78th minute.
STRELI MAMBA (Paderborn)
Former fifth-division player Mamba continued his blistering recent form, scoring twice for Paderborn as the league’s bottom side shocked Borussia Dortmund with a 3-3 draw at Signal Iduna Park. The brace brought Mamba’s goal tally to four for the season for the late bloomer, who is eligible to play for both Germany and the Democratic Republic of Congo but has not yet made a decision on his availability.
ISLAM SLIMANI (Monaco)
Slimani was at the centre of the action at both ends as he had a dramatic and ultimately unhappy afternoon as Monaco lost 2-1 at Bordeaux. The Algerian gave his side a 15th minute lead when he ran on to Wissam Ben Yedder's flicked header and smashed a left-foot shot into the net. But the game turned when Slimani, defending in the wall, leapt to block a free kick with his arm raised. The ball struck his elbow and the referee awarded Bordeaux a penalty and sent Slimani off. Coach Leonardo Jardim was unhappy that Slimani argued with the referee. "He scored a goal but honestly I expect more from him, the behaviour is also important and it wasn't a great day for him."
ADAMA TRAORE (Metz)
Malian midfielder Adama 'Noss' Traore saved a precious point for Metz against Reims with his first league goal of the season. The on-loan Monaco player arrived late in the penalty area to pounce on a loose ball and smash a left-foot equaliser just under the bar in the 47th minute. The game ended 1-1 and Metz remain in the bottom three, one point from safety.
© 2019 AFP