Ivorian football stars on target across Europe
Salomon Kalou, Arouna Kona, Gervinho and Lacina Traore were on target at the weekend as Ivory Coast stars made their mark across Europe.
Striker Kone snatched a last-minute winner for lowly Wigan over Newcastle and an equally late goal from Arsenal midfielder Gervinho sealed a victory at Swansea that kept alive hopes of Champions League football next season.
Gangling goal poacher Traore salvaged a 1-1 draw for Anzhi Makhachkala against Samara in Russia while striker Kalou scored, conceded an own goal and missed a penalty as Lille fell 2-1 to Evian in France.
AROUNA KONE (Wigan)
Ivorian striker Kone pounced in the 90th minute to give Wigan a 2-1 win at home to Newcastle United that lifted Roberto Martinez's side within three points of safety with a game in hand. The 29-year-old Ivory Coast international smashed home following a goalmouth scramble despite a suspicion of handball against team-mate Maynor Figueroa.
STEVEN PIENAAR (Everton)
South African midfielder Pienaar was sent off in Everton's home game with Manchester City. Having been booked for a first-half foul on Gareth Barry, he was shown a second yellow card with half an hour to play after catching Javi Garcia on the shin. Despite his dismissal, Everton ran out 2-0 winners to inflict a heavy blow on City's title hopes.
Gervinho came off the bench to score the second Arsenal goal in a 2-0 success at Swansea City. The Ivory Coast international collected a pass from Aaron Ramsey in injury time before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Michel Vorm to register his sixth goal of the campaign.
SEBASTIEN BASSONG (Norwich)
Cameroonian centre-back Bassong conceded a penalty as his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Sunderland. The former Tottenham defender was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area shortly before half-time, with Craig Gardner scoring from the spot to cancel out Wes Hoolahan's opener for Norwich.
CHRISTOPHER SAMBA (QPR)
Samba finished on the losing side as QPR went down 3-2 at Aston Villa, which left Harry Redknapp's side seven points adrift of safety. The giant Congo Brazzaville centre-back was twice thwarted by Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the early stages and was also involved in a clash of heads with Nathan Baker that forced the Villa defender to go off with concussion.
SALOMON KALOU (Lille)
The Ivory Coast international endured a torrid evening as he opened the scoring against Evian before putting the ball through his own goal for the visitors' winner and then missed a late penalty in a 2-1 defeat.
WAHBI KHAZRI (Bastia)
The 22-year-old Tunisian international capped a perfect evening for Bastia with his side's fourth goal in a 4-1 rout over Ligue 1 challengers Lyon as the Corsican side eased further away from the relegation zone.
ARTHUR BOKA (Stuttgart)
The Ivory Coast defender, who is playing as a midfielder at Stuttgart, won a penalty when he was fouled in the 48th minute by Eintracht Frankfurt captain Pirmin Schwegler as Stuttgart claimed a 2-1 victory. Bosnia striker Vedad Ibisevisc slotted home the resulting penalty.
KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (AC Milan)
Boateng "played a good game", according to AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri after his side's 2-0 win over Palermo, with both goals coming from Mario Balotelli, kept the Rossoneri third, 11 points behind leaders Juventus and two short of Napoli. Boateng shot over from close in during the first half.
ISHAK BELFODIL (Parma)
Belfodil came off the bench in the 75th minute to replace ineffective Nicola Sansone, but by then the visitors were already down 1-0 to Roma following Erik Lamela's seventh-minute strike at the Olympic Stadium. Belfodil did little for the remainder and Parma's 11th defeat of the campaign was sealed by Francesco Totti's superb free-kick.
LACINA TRAORE (Anzhi Makhachkala)
The Ivory Coast striker saved the day for the hosts, equalising in the 81st minute when he fired home a rebound after Samara goalkeeper Sergei Veremko deflected Joao Carlos' six-yard header. Traore came as a substitute at half-time in Anzhi's first match at their new 30,000-seat stadium.
IBRAHIMA BALDE (Kuban Krasnodar)
The Senegalese forward salvaged a point for Kuban at home against Dynamo Moscow when he received Marcos Pizelli's sharp pass into the area and fired the ball home from 10 metres in the 29th minute, soon after Dynamo went ahead.
ABDUL MAJEED WARIS (Spartak Moscow)
The Ghanaian forward came on as a substitute in the 66th minute and had a clear chance to put Spartak ahead when he received a pass from Spaniard Jose Manuel Jurado in the Lokomotiv Moscow box, but his close-range attempt was confidently blocked by goalkeeper Guilherme in a goalless draw.
MUBARKA WAKASO (Espanyol)
Wakaso set up the second goal as Espanyol produced the shock of the weekend by beating Malaga 2-0 at La Rosaleda. The Ghanaian started for the first time since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations and produced a wonderful cross from the left for Sergio Garcia to give the visitors a commanding lead on 66 minutes.
ABDELAZIZ BARRADA (Getafe)
Moroccan Barrada played 85 minutes as Getafe continued their good run with a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. Los Azulones have now taken 13 points from a possible 15 and sit just two points off the European places.
ODION IGHALO (Granada)
Nigerian Ighalo started in Granada's 1-1 draw with Levante, but failed to make an impression and was substituted after an hour. The draw leaves the Andalusians four points above the relegation zone.
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