African footballers in Europe: ‘Zaha a hard player to stop’

African footballers in Europe: 'Zaha a hard player to stop'African footballers in Europe: 'Zaha a hard player to stop'
Fulham defender Ola Aina fails to prevent Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha (R) unleashing a shot

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson praised Wilfried Zaha after the Ivory Coast winger scored his fifth goal in six English Premier League matches during a 2-1 win at Fulham. 

«Wilfried reminds us that when he is on top of his game, he is a very hard player to stop. He is an excellent player and deserves all the praise he is going to get.

«If ever I sound mildly critical he thinks I’m picking on him, but every press conference I go to he is the only player they want to talk to me about.»

Here, AFP Sport rounds up how Africans fared in the major European leagues at the weekend.

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ENGLAND

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Palace were leading struggling Fulham 1-0 when Andros Townsend fed Michy Batshuayi down the right and his cross was turned in at the far post by Zaha on 64 minutes at Craven Cottage. Zaha collided with a post in the act of scoring but was able to shake off the injury.

SADIO MANE (Liverpool)

The Senegal forward played a key role as Liverpool came from behind to beat Sheffield United 2-1. It was from a rebound off his shot that Roberto Firmino equalised just before half-time. And he was involved again on the hour when his accurate cross was turned in by pre-season signing Diego Jota for the champions’ winner. But he appeared unhappy late on after Egyptian strike partner Mohamed Salah missed a chance to put the result beyond doubt with a shot that hit the post rather than pass to the unmarked Mane, who could have slotted the ball into an empty net.

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The Gunners’ 1-0 defeat by Leicester City left their club captain without a goal in his last five Premier League games, although the Gabon forward did score against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League last Thursday.

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ITALY

EBRIMA COLLEY (Hellas Verona)

Gambian striker Colley had a goal ruled offside after quarter of an hour in Turin as Verona held champions Juventus 1-1. The former Atalanta forward threatened to break through for his first Verona goal but was to remain frustrated in his first game against the nine-time defending Serie A champions.

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Nigerian international Osimhen had the ball in the net after 17 minutes against promoted Benevento, but his celebrations at scoring for a second consecutive game were short lived with the goal was ruled offside. Napoli won 2-1 to move second in Serie A behind AC Milan.

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GERMANY

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The Nigerian international endured a torrid and ultimately rather short evening as his side drew 1-1 with Stuttgart because he was substituted after just 16 minutes having picked up a yellow card. Ehizibue was run ragged by Stuttgart winger Tanguy Coulibaly in the opening stages, and was booked for the third time in five games for a late challenge on Sasa Kalajdzic. Apparently unimpressed with his right-back’s performance, Cologne coach Markus Gisdol took drastic action and benched him.

SALIF SANE (Schalke)

The Senegal defender almost scored an own goal in the Ruhr derby against Borussia Dortmund, heading a Jadon Sancho free-kick just inches over his own crossbar in the second half when the match was goalless. Manuel Akanji opened the scoring just minutes later, kick-starting a 3-0 win for Dortmund and condemning Schalke to a 21st league game without a win.

PIERRE KUNDE MALONG (Mainz)

The Cameroon midfielder almost helped his side to a first win of the season, against Borussia Monchengladbach. With his side leading 2-1, Kunde unleashed team mate Levin Oztunali with a clever chip into the box, but the German was denied by a strong save from Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Gladbach then came from behind to win 3-2, condemning Kunde and Mainz to a fifth defeat in five games this season.

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FRANCE

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Lyon continued their revival with a second straight Ligue 1 victory, and for the second consecutive week Cameroon striker Karl Toko Ekambi scored twice. Last week in Strasbourg, Toko Ekambi struck in the 25th and 42nd minutes to set up a 3-2 Lyon victory. On Sunday, the Paris-born 28-year-old sunk Monaco between the 34th and 44th minutes as Lyon won 4-1. In the 34th minute, Toko Ekambi converted a cross from Zimbabwean Tino Kadewere at the second attempt. In the 41st minute, the Cameroon striker won a penalty that Houssem Aouar converted. Three minutes later, Toko Ekambi took advantage of a misunderstanding in the Monegasque defence to score and put Lyon four goals up.

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