African players in Europe: Aubameyang’s historic hat-trick
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang decisively put a shortage of goals this season behind him at the weekend by scoring his first Premier League hat-trick as Arsenal defeated Leeds United 4-2 at the Emirates.
The Gunners captain and Gabon star had scored just five goals before he punished Leeds’ expansive style by netting from a low shot, a penalty and a far-post header.
In France, Nigerian Terem Moffi raised his goal tally to seven from eight matches for Lorient by scoring twice in a 2-2 Ligue 1 draw at Monaco.
Here, AFP Sport rounds up the performances of African stars in the major European leagues:
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)
Aubameyang made a stunning return to the Arsenal starting line-up as the Gunners defeated Leeds. The former African Footballer of the Year has been used sparingly by Mikel Arteta in recent weeks after having to quarantine when he returned from visiting his ill mother abroad. The Arsenal captain looked to be back to his sharpest as he opened the scoring with a smart near-post finish, converted a penalty and headed home at the far post early in the second half.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
Salah stretched his lead as the Premier League’s top scorer with a brilliant strike to open the scoring at Leicester and move to 17 goals for the season. However, the Egyptian’s goal counted for little as Liverpool conceded three times in six minutes late on to lose a third consecutive game and further undermine their attempts to retain their title.
MBAYE DIAGNE (West Brom)
The Senegalese striker shocked Manchester United after just 80 seconds with his first goal since joining on loan from Galatasaray. West Brom held on for a 1-1 draw, but Diagne wasted two glorious chances in the second half to secure what would have been a much-needed win in the battle for survival.
KEITA BALDE (Sampdoria)
The Senegal attacker on loan from Monaco scored after half an hour to claim a second goal in as many games and help his side to a 2-1 win over Fiorentina. The 25-year-old has found the back of the net five times since late December after joining the Serie A outfit in September.
IHLAS BEBOU (Hoffenheim)
The Togolese forward scored his fifth goal of the season to help his side to a 2-2 draw at Borussia Dortmund. Bebou bundled the ball in from close range shortly after half-time as Hoffenheim came from behind to lead before Erling Braut Haaland rescued a point for Dortmund.
EDMOND TAPSOBA (Bayer Leverkusen)
The Burkina Faso defender picked up a yellow card for a foul on Adam Szalai in the second half as his side threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Hoffenheim. The result left Leverkusen, who briefly topped the table in December, 12 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
NABIL BENTALEB (Schalke)
The Algeria midfielder played his first game since November in Schalke’s 0-0 draw with Union Berlin after coach Christian Gross welcomed him back into the fold. Bentaleb was suspended for disciplinary reasons in November by former coach Manuel Baum, but Gross has urged the 26-year-old to grab the opportunity of a second chance.
TEREM MOFFI (Lorient)
The Nigerian scored twice as Lorient halted Monaco’s seven-game winning run in a 2-2 draw. Signed from Belgian club Kortrijk in October, 21-year-old Moffi has quickly developed into a key performer for Lorient as demonstrated by a return of seven goals in his past eight games. He converted an early penalty to give Lorient the lead and then looked to have scored the winner before the visitors conceded a late equaliser.
MOSES SIMON (Nantes)
A fourth-minute strike by the Nigeria winger set Nantes on the way to a long overdue win as they snapped a run of 16 games without victory in all competitions by defeating Angers 3-1. Simon finished off a sharp counter-attack for his third goal of the season as Antoine Kombouare made a winning start to his tenure after replacing the sacked Raymond Domenech.
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