African players in Europe: Champion Mane sets up Liverpool winner
Sadio Mane followed up helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time by creating the goal that gave Liverpool a 1-0 Premier League win over Burnley at the weekend.
His header off a corner dropped into the path of Brazilian Fabinho, who scored at the second attempt after his initial shot was blocked.
Mane and Mohamed Salah led the Reds’ attack after being on opposite sides in the Cup of Nations final in Cameroon last Sunday when Senegal defeated Egypt on penalties.
Here, AFP Sport highlights Africans who starred in the major European leagues.
MOHAMED SALAH, SADIO MANE (Liverpool)
Mane and Salah were kept quiet as the Reds struggled in the fierce winds at Turf Moor, but Mane did have a hand in the only goal as second-placed Liverpool maintained their title challenge, nine points behind Manchester City with a game in hand.
CARLOS AKAPO (Cadiz)
After playing every minute as Equatorial Guinea reached the last eight at the Cup of Nations, the defender started his first match for relegation-haunted Cadiz at home to Celta Vigo and helped the home team keep a clean sheet and secure a point in a goalless draw.
PIERRE EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Barcelona)
The Gabon striker followed a 29-minute debut in the win against Atletico Madrid the previous week by coming on with 28 minutes to go and the scores level at Espanyol. Barcelona immediately fell behind, but in added time, as Luuk de Jong made a goal scoring-leap at the near post, Auba was distracting defenders and the goalkeeper at the far post.
KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)
Napoli’s défensive rock started his first Serie A match since early December and showed why fans want him to become captain once Lorenzo Insigne leaves for Toronto in mid year. He was an imposing presence and, despite the 1-1 draw with Inter Milan, is keen to push Napoli’s dream of the title as his team sit just two points behind new leaders AC Milan.
CHRISTOPHER ANTWI-ADJEI (VfL Bochum)
The Ghana striker scored his side’s first goal in a stunning 4-2 win over league leaders Bayern Munich. Antwi-Adjei wrongfooted Niklas Suele to find the bottom corner and cancel out Robert Lewandowski’s opener.
RAMY BENSEBAINI (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
The Algeria defender scored his third goal of the season as Gladbach avoided a record-equalling fifth straight home defeat with a 3-2 win against Augsburg. Bensebaini fired a header into the top corner in the second half.
ANTHONY UJAH (Union Berlin)
The Nigerian forward made his first Bundesliga appearance since June 2020 after a knee operation when he came on as a substitute in Union’s 3-0 home defeat by Borussia Dortmund. The 31-year-old had a significant cameo in the second half, as Union had a consolation goal ruled out by VAR for his foul on Manuel Akanji.
KARL TOKO EKAMBI (Lyon)
Cameroon forward Toko Ekambi scored the second goal for seventh-placed Lyon seven minutes after the break in a 2-0 win over Nice, after former Fulham and Celtic striker Moussa Dembele converted an early penalty.
CEDRIC HOUNTONDJI (Clermont)
Benin defender Hountondji opened the scoring for Clermont six minutes before the break with his second goal for the club since joining from Levski Sofia in 2019 and first in Ligue 1 for the promoted side, who fell 2-1 against Saint-Etienne.
STEVE MOUNIE (Brest)
Benin striker Mounie struck in the final 10 minutes to cement a 5-1 win for Brest at home against Troyes. It was the eighth win this season for the Brittany side in 24 games as they sit 12th in the table.
GAEL KAKUTA, SEKO FOFANA (Lens)
Democratic Republic of Congo midfielder Kakuta set up Arnaud Kalimuendo for the opening goal and then scored from the penalty spot after 22 minutes. Ivory Coast midfielder Fofana added a third before the half hour for a 3-2 home win which condemned Bordeaux to bottom spot in Ligue 1 and lifted Lens to eighth.