African players in Europe: Mahrez’s historic Wembley hat-trick
Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez became the first player to score an FA Cup semi-final hat-trick at Wembley as Manchester City swept aside Sheffield United 3-0 at the weekend.
The last FA Cup semi-final treble was scored by Alex Dawson of Manchester United in 1958 — long before the semi-finals were moved from various venues to the national stadium.
“Riyad is grumpy with me all the time when he does not play,” said City manager Pep Guardiola. “He is a big-stage player. I’m so satisfied for Riyad.”
Here, AFP Sport highlights African headline-makers in the major European leagues:
RIYAD MAHREZ (Manchester City)
Mahrez opened the scoring from the penalty spot late in the first half after Daniel Jebbison’s panicked hack on Bernardo Silva. He then effectively settled the tie with a fine solo goal in the 61st minute, weaving his way past several defenders, before the 32-year-old completed his treble five minutes later with a low strike from 10 yards.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
The Egypt forward scored the winner as Liverpool kept their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League alive with a tense 3-2 win over relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest when he swept home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick 20 minutes from time.
KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester)
The Nigerian helped Leicester manager Dean Smith win his first home game in charge by equalising from the penalty spot eight minutes before half-time in the struggling Foxes’ 2-1 win over Wolves.
YOUSSEF EN-NESYRI (Sevilla)
Morocco striker En-Nesyri was Sevilla’s hero in midweek as he struck twice to eliminate Manchester United in the Europa League and was on target again to help the Andalusians drive further up the table away from relegation against high-flying Villarreal. The 25-year-old, on as a substitute, rose highest to nod home from a corner after 94 minutes to secure a 2-1 win for his side. It was his fifth goal in his last six games across all competitions.
SADIO MANE (Bayern Munich)
Bayern striker Mane scored his first goal since October, but it was not enough as his side lost 3-1 at Mainz, surrendering their Bundesliga lead to Borussia Dortmund. Mane, who started the season for Bayern in blistering form before picking up a leg injury which kept him out of Senegal’s World Cup campaign, leapt to meet a Joao Cancelo cross after 29 minutes to put the visitors in front, but Bayern conceded three goals in 14 second-half minutes.
HABIB DIALLO (Strasbourg)
The Senegalese striker got both goals on his return from a one-match ban as Strasbourg won 2-0 at Reims to climb out of the relegation zone. Diallo headed in a cross after just 16 seconds — his second goal inside the opening minute of a game this season. He added another late in the first half after again being set up by Habib Diarra to take his goals tally for the campaign to 17.