African players in Europe: Iheanacho and Aubameyang shine in England
Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho showed he knows how to make an impact as he came off the bench to drive Leicester to a victory that keeps them as Liverpool’s closest challengers in the Premier League.
Among other outstanding performances by Europe-based African players this weekend, Jeremie Boga opened the scoring for minnows Sassuolo and they went on to hold Serie A champions Juventus to a 2-2 draw in Turin.
KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester)
Iheanacho had a massive impact on his first league outing of the season to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win for the Foxes over Everton.
The Nigerian came off the bench to set up Jamie Vardy’s equaliser before scoring himself for the first time in the Premier League since September 2018, deep into stoppage time.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)
Aubameyang scored twice to salvage a 2-2 draw for Arsenal at Norwich in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game in caretaker charge.
The new Gunners’ captain had fortune on his side after seeing his first take at a penalty saved by Tim Krul only to be handed the reprieve of a retake for encroaching by Norwich players.
Aubameyang was clinical with his second chance from the spot and produced another fine finish just before the hour mark to finish at the back post from a corner.
WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)
Zaha scored for the second consecutive game as Palace ended a five-game winless streak with a 2-0 win at Burnley.
The Ivorian caught England international goalkeeper Nick Pope napping with a fierce strike that sneaked in at the near post for just his second goal of the season.
PAPAKOULI DIOP (Elbar)
Senegalese midfielder Papakouli Diop’s goal could not prevent Eibar from losing 4-1 away at high-flying Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.
Diop tucked away Takashi Inui’s pull-back to equalise in the 35th minute at Anoeta but Real Sociedad struck three times in the second half to seal a convincing win as Eibar dropped to 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone.
LAGO JUNIOR (Real Mallorca)
Lago Junior scored a penalty and Lumor Agbenyenu was sent off as Real Mallorca were beaten 2-1 at home by Real Betis on Saturday.
Ivory Coast forward Lago came on at half-time and gave Mallorca hope of a comeback by reducing the deficit from the spot after Betis had scored twice in the first half.
But they were unable to find an equaliser and Ghanaian defender Agbenyenu was given a second yellow card in injury-time for pulling back Betis Diego Lainez.
JEREMIE BOGA (Sassuolo)
Ivorian Boga opened the scoring for Sassuolo in a 2-2 draw at Serie A champions Juventus. The 22-year-old dinked over Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for his fourth goal this season as 14th-placed Sassuolo claimed their first-ever point at the Turin giants who lost top spot in Serie A.
KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (Fiorentina)
Ghanian midfielder Boateng returned for Fiorentina after being overlooked for the last three Serie A games with the 32-year-old coming on for the injured French Franck Ribery after the break in a 1-0 defeat to Lecce which piled the pressure on the 13th-placed Tuscany side.
KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)
A wayward header from Senegalese defender Koulibaly resulted in the equaliser for Bologna, who fought back to win 2-1 in the San Paolo Stadium. Koulibaly headed to clear the ball away from goal but instead Bologna’s Andreas Skov-Olsen latched on to volley in. Napoli are seventh as their winless run extended to eight games in all competitions.
KHOUMA BABACAR (Lecce)
Senegalese striker Babacar came off the bench in the second half of a 1-0 win over his former club Fiorentina. The 26-year-old, on-loan from Sassuolo, missed two chances to score a second goal late, but his side held on for their third win this season.
STRELI MAMBA (Paderborn)
Mamba scored a cracking goal to kickstart a Paderborn fightback against RB Leipzig on Saturday. Although Paderborn eventually lost 3-2 after trailing 3-0, Mamba caused Leipzig’s defence constant problems, with his fifth goal of the season a just reward for the DR Congo-eligible striker.
ACHRAF HAKIMI (Borussia Dortmund)
Moroccan defender Hakimi put in another breathtaking performance for Dortmund, setting up one goal and providing a consistent threat throughout. Hakimi’s cross for Thorgan Hazard’s first-half goal was first class and will have Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc going over the loanee’s contract with a fine-tooth comb to try and prevent his return to parent club Real Madrid.
VICTOR OSIMHEN (Lille)
Nigeria striker Osimhen scored his first Ligue 1 goal since October 6 with a penalty in first-half stoppage time as Lille claimed a much-needed 1-0 win over Dijon. The 20-year-old has scored 15 goals in all competitions for club and country this season.
GAEL KAKUTA (Amiens)
Former Chelsea forward Kakuta scored his first goal for Amiens since returning for his second spell at the club in the close-season in Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Montpellier. The 28-year-old, who previously played for Amiens on loan from Chinese outfit Hebei China Fortune in 2017-18, has played two friendlies for the Democratic Republic of Congo this year.
HABIB DIALLO (Metz)
The Senegalese international continued his prolific form for Metz by scoring in their 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Nimes. The 24-year-old Diallo, who scored 26 goals in Ligue 2 last term, has now netted nine times in the top flight this campaign and trails only Lyon’s Moussa Dembele in the goalscoring charts.