African players in Europe: 28-goal Salah sparks fightback
Paris (AFP) –
Mohamed Salah raised his goal tally to 28 in all competitions this season by equalising for Liverpool in a 2-1 Premier League comeback win over Aston Villa at the weekend.
When the Egypt predator struck on 57 minutes at Anfield, it was the first open-play goal scored by the Reds since December 27.
Another consistent scorer has been Nigeria's Kelechi Iheanacho with nine in his last six appearances for Leicester, but a double at West Ham could not prevent a 3-2 defeat.
Here, AFP Sport rounds up the performances of Africans in the major European leagues:
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
With Jurgen Klopp's side trailing, Liverpool were in danger of a seventh successive home league defeat. But, as so often in the past, Salah rode to the rescue when he equalised by heading home from close-range after Andrew Robertson's shot was parried into his path.
KELECHI IHEANACHO (Leicester)
Leicester were three goals down by the 48th minute before Iheanacho netted twice to create a tense finish. In the 70th minute, the 24-year-old fired home from long range and in the first minute of stoppage time he finished from inside the six-yard box.
AISSA MANDI (Real Betis)
The Algeria defender has been one of Real Betis' key players in the club's push for European football next season. The 29-year-old, capped 60 times by his country, was maybe too resolute for Atletico Madrid's liking in the 1-1 La Liga draw. In first-half injury time, Mandi tackled Portuguese star Joao Felix and left his opponent with an ankle injury which led to his eventual replacement by Lucas Torreira.
FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan), CHAKA TRAORE (Parma)
Kessie scored his 10th Serie A goal this season in a 3-1 win in Parma to keep second-placed Milan on course for a return to the Champions League. The midfielder picked up a Theo Hernandez cross to fire in his team's second goal just before the break. Fellow Ivorian Traore, 16, came off the bench with seven minutes left to debut for Parma. The first player born in 2004 to line out in the Italian top flight, Traore missed an injury-time scoring chance.
ACHRAF HAKIMI (Inter Milan)
Morocco's Hakimi came off the bench after 69 minutes and made an immediate impact, providing the cross for ex-Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian to grab the winner as Inter Milan remained 11 points clear with a 1-0 win over Cagliari.
SIMY, KOFFI DJIDJI, ADAM OUNAS (Crotone)
Nigeria's Simy struck his ninth goal in six consecutive games to bring his tally to 16 in this campaign, but basement club Crotone fell 3-2 at Spezia. Ivorian Djidji scored his first Serie A goal with an acrobatic shot five minutes before the break and Algeria's Ounas was involved in the build-up to Simy's 78th-minute goal.
VICTOR OSIMHEN (Napoli), KEITA BALDE (Sampdoria)
Osimhen scored and helped set up another goal in fifth-placed Napoli's 2-0 win over Sampdoria. The Nigeria attacker was involved in the build-up to Fabian Ruiz's opener on 35 minutes and added the second three minutes from time. Sampdoria had a goal disallowed following a VAR review of a foul by Senegalese Balde in the build-up.
AMADOU HAIDARA (RB Leipzig)
The Malian came on with an hour gone in RB Leipzig's 4-1 win at Werder Bremen, a result which trimmed Bayern Munich's Bundesliga lead to five points. With his team 3-1 up, Haidara was involved in the build-up as Marcel Sabitzer finished off a counter attack to score Leipzig's fourth.
ELLYES SKHIRI (Cologne)
The Tunisian scored his fifth of the season in his side's 3-2 home loss against Mainz. Skhiri thought he had secured relegation-threatened Cologne a point when he netted on 61 minutes, but they conceded a late goal.
PHILLIP MWENE (Mainz)
Mainz defender Mwene, who has declared his eligibility for Kenya, went from villain to hero in the win over Cologne. He conceded a harsh first-half handball penalty but redeemed himself in the second half with a hand in both Mainz goals.
WAHBI KHAZRI (Saint-Etienne)
The Tunisia attacker hit his first career hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Bordeaux. Saint-Etienne have won three of their past four games to climb free of a potential relegation battle, with Khazri scoring five times in that run.
ANDY DELORT (Montpellier)
The Montpellier forward scored inside the opening minute in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Marseille. Delort has struck 11 goals in 24 league games this season, but his commitment to Algeria appeared to be questioned by coach Djamel Belmadi after he was not involved in last month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
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