Mixed week for African footballers in Europe

03 October 2011 03:35

Africans had a mixed weekend in the major European leagues, with goals in France and red cards in Italy.

Malian striker Modibo Maiga scored twice and Moroccan playmaker Younes Belhanda and Senegalese hitman Moussa Sow once in the French Ligue 1.

But a couple of yellow cards each for Ghanaian Kevin-Prince Boateng of AC Milan and Nigerian Joel Obi of Inter Milan led to their Serie A expulsions.



The Ivory Coast striker linked up with Frank Lampard to help the Chelsea midfielder complete his hat-trick in a 5-1 win at Bolton. Lampard exchanged passes with Drogba on the edge of the penalty area before firing home his side's fifth goal. Drogba gave a typically dominant display but was unable to claim his second goal of the season.

ALEX SONG (Arsenal)

The Cameroon midfielder provided the assist for Arsenal's second-half equaliser at Tottenham but could not prevent the Gunners suffering a 2-1 defeat against their north London rivals. Song, playing out of position in defence due to injuries, made a perfectly timed run to the byline in the 51st minute before whipping over a low cross that Aaron Ramsey converted.

DEMBA BA (Newcastle)

The Senegal striker scored his fourth goal in two matches to help his side clinch a 2-1 win at Wolves. Ba, who hit a hat-trick in his last appearance against Blackburn, struck with a close-range header from Yohan Cabaye's 17th-minute corner to open the scoring.


The Ivory Coast midfielder played 90 minutes as City cruised to a 4-0 win over Blackburn to lift the shadow cast by Carlos Tevez's refusal to play against Bayern Munich. Toure was a rock-solid presence in central midfield as second-placed City scored four times in the second half to stay level on points with leaders Manchester United.


The Nigerian striker has gone four matches without a goal after failing to get on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw at Sunderland. Odemwingie scored 15 times last season, but his second season has been much harder, with his only goal coming against Norwich on September 11.



Moroccan playmaker Belhanda sparked his side's fightback with an impudent chipped penalty as Montpellier came from 2-0 down with two minutes to play to salvage a 2-2 draw at Bordeaux. Belhanda's Panenka moment arrived in the 88th minute, after Michael Ciani had been penalised for handball inside the penalty area, with Vitorino Hilton netting a 90th-minute equaliser.


Mali striker Maiga took his goal tally for the season to four with a brace in an impressive 3-0 defeat of Toulouse. He opened the scoring in the ninth minute by converting from a Loic Poujol pass and completed his brace two minutes from time with a trademark header from an inviting Marvin Martin cross.


Senegalese hitman Sow, the top scorer in Ligue 1 last term, claimed his third goal of the current campaign with the opening goal in Lille's 2-0 win at home to Rennes. There were seven minutes on the clock when Sow broke the deadlock, slamming home with his left foot after Joe Cole had seen a shot blocked, as the defending champions brought their unwelcome run of five consecutive draws to an end.


ISAAC VORSAH (Hoffenheim)

The Ghana defender played in the goalless draw with German league leaders Bayern Munich and made a key contribution in the first half when he cleared a shot from Jerome Boateng off the line. He was impressive throughout for Hoffenheim as Bayern struggled to make an impact on the hosts' defence, just four days after their 2-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League.


Ivory Coast's striker came off the bench with just under 30 minutes remaining as he replaced Mohammed Abdellaoue, who scored a hat-trick in Hanover's 3-2 win over Werder Bremen. The 27-year-old showed some nice touches and linked well with one-time Germany striker Jan Schlaudraff.



The Ghana midfielder made a calamitous return to the first team following injury in the 2-0 defeat at Juventus as he was sent off. He played from the start but picked up a booking in the first half. He came closest to scoring for Milan when latching on to a crossfield ball from Antonio Cassano that he caught on the volley, only for Gianluigi Buffon to tip his shot around the post. But in the second half Boateng strangely tried to touch the ball with his hand and succeeded only in slapping Giorgio Chiellini in the head, for which he received a second yellow and his marching orders.

JOEL OBI (Inter Milan)

The Nigerian was giving a solid and disciplined performance from left midfield until disaster struck just before half-time when he gave away a penalty and earnt a red card in the 3-0 defeat at home to Napoli. Obi was unlucky to pick up a booking in the first half, having been punished for what television replays showed was a clean tackle on Ezequiel Lavezzi. But just before the break he barged into Christian Maggio as the wing-back stormed into the box, bringing him down. The foul deserved a second booking and Obi was sent off, but the referee also awarded a penalty despite television replays showing the foul happened outside the box. Without Obi on the pitch, Inter conceded three goals and now sit 17th, one point above the relegation zone.


The Morocco centre-back was a rock in defence but made the difference in attack as well as Udinese beat Bologna 2-0 to keep pace with Juventus at the top of the Serie A table. Benatia came up for a corner and was in the right place at the right time when Damiano Ferronetti's header from Pablo Armero's set-piece travelled goalwards. The ball hit Benatia and then fell kindly for the France-born player, who swivelled and shot home.



Levante are joint leaders with Barcelona and their excellent start to the season has been partly down to strength on the counter-attack, where Arouna Kone has been their lone frontman. He made an immediate impact with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Real Madrid on September 18. Kone has not scored in three games since but has been a constant threat. While Levante won 1-0 over Real Betis at the weekend, Kone will be disappointed not to have got on the score-sheet as he had several chances.


The Kenya midfielder joined Real Sociedad in the summer on loan from Inter Milan and has already become a regular in the side, who have made a steady start to their La Liga campaign. Sociedad crashed 2-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao and Mariga had a quiet game where he was he was unable to make an impact and gave away the ball too often. On the plus side, he provided defensive cover for the backline and broke up several attacks.

Source: AFP