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African players in Europe: Masuaku surprises Mendy to win derby

06 December 2021   |   1:30 pm
West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku was the unlikely match-winner as the Hammers twice came from behind to shock Chelsea 3-2 at the weekend in the Premier League.

Union Berlin’s Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match 1 FC Union Berlin v RB Leipzig in Berlin on December 3, 2021. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO

West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku was the unlikely match-winner as the Hammers twice came from behind to shock Chelsea 3-2 at the weekend in the Premier League.

The Democratic Republic of Congo international came off the bench and beat Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy at his near post on 87 minutes with a cross-cum-shot.

Chelsea began the London derby as league leaders, but were replaced by Liverpool and later Manchester City in a thrilling title race, while West Ham lie fourth.

Here, AFP Sport highlights Africans who starred in the major European leagues.


Masuaku was one of the headline acts of the Premier League weekend, scoring a freak late winner in West Ham’s victory at the London Stadium, catching out Mendy at his near post. The 28-year-old took to Twitter with a cheeky message to address speculation about whether he had meant it. “So, was it a cross or was it a shot?” he asked. “(Hint: I was surprised as you).”


Egypt forward Salah was the provider for Divock Origi’s last-gasp winner for Liverpool against resolute Wolves. Salah, 29, now has nine assists in the Premier League this season — more than any other player — and also tops the goalscoring charts with 13 goals.


Ivorian international Kessie scored his first goal since October to give AC Milan a fifth-minute lead in their eventual 2-0 win over bottom club Salernitana. The 24-year-old midfielder has netted three times this season after notching a career-best 14 goals last term.


The 23-year-old Gambian international striker was on target in the 42nd minute but could not prevent a 3-2 home defeat against Fiorentina. Bologna are comfortably placed in ninth in Serie A but 10 points off the Champions League places.

TAIWO AWONIYI (Union Berlin)

The Nigerian toe-poked home a header from defender Timo Baumgartl to give the hosts an early lead in a 2-1 win over RB Leipzig. The ex-Liverpool striker has now scored nine Bundesliga goals.

EDMOND TAPSOBA (Bayer Leverkusen)

The unmarked Burkina Faso defender powered home a Florian Wirtz free-kick as third-placed Leverkusen routed bottom side Greuther Fuerth 7-1.


The Mali captain claimed his second league goal this season as Hoffenheim climbed into the Bundesliga top four with a 3-2 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt. The defensive midfielder cracked in Hoffenheim’s third goal after being set up by Togolese Ihlas Bebou.


The Egyptian scored only his second Bundesliga goal in his side’s 2-2 draw at home to Hertha Berlin. Marmoush showcased his devastating pace when he broke free to give Stuttgart an early lead, but two goals from Stevan Jovetic saw the capital city club steal a 2-2 draw.

HABIB DIALLO (Strasbourg)

The Senegalese striker played a key role as Strasbourg inflicted a third successive home defeat on Nice. Diallo bagged his eighth goal of the season with a clever back-heel flick that doubled the lead in the final minutes before setting up Adrien Thomasson to complete a 3-0 win.


The Ivorian has been in terrific form for a Lens team chasing Champions League football and struck the opener in a 1-1 draw against leaders Paris Saint-Germain. Fofana’s powerful shot from outside the area was fumbled into the net by Keylor Navas as the midfielder scored for the second game running and fifth time this campaign.