European football weekend round up: Toure, Ba score in thrilling title race

28 April 2014 10:32

African stars Yaya Toure and Demba Ba played key roles at the weekend in a thrilling English Premier League title race.

Ivorian Toure made the first goal and scored the second as City won 2-0 at Crystal Palace and Senegalese Ba broke the deadlock as Chelsea triumphed 2-0 at Liverpool.

Liverpool (80 points) and Chelsea (78) have two matches to play while City (77) have a game in hand and a superior goal difference.


YAYA TOURE (Manchester City)

As important to his club's Premier League title challenge as Luis Suarez is to Liverpool's bid, the reigning African Footballer of the Year delivered a masterclass in a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.

Back after missing two matches with thigh trouble, his precise free-kick allowed Bosnia's Edin Dzeko to head City into a fourth-minute lead. And the Ivory Coast midfielder put the result beyond doubt two minutes before half-time, playing one-twos with Dzeko and Samir Nasri before surging into the box and curling the ball round Julian Speroni for a sublime second goal.

DEMBA BA (Chelsea)

The Senegal international had seen little of the ball at Anfield when Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped to allow him a free run on goal shortly before half-time. The sprinting striker maintained his composure to finish calmly past Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to give Chelsea the lead.


The Ivory Coast striker struck twice to take his Premier League goals tally for the season to 16 as Swansea all but assured themselves of top-flight survival with a 4-1 win at home to struggling Aston Villa. Bony gave the Welsh side a 10th-minute lead when he latched on to a through ball from Jonjo Shelvey before side-footing past Villa 'keeper Brad Guzan with the minimum of fuss. He added a stoppage-time penalty.

STEPHANE SESSEGNON (West Bromwich Albion)

The Benin forward played his part in taking the Baggies to the brink of Premier League survival by bursting forward and playing in Morgan Amalfitano, whose ensuing pass in the 11th minute teed up Saido Berahino for the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over West Ham at The Hawthorns.



Ghanaian striker Boakye scored his fifth goal of the season as Elche edged towards another season in La Liga with a 1-1 draw at home to Levante. Boakye opened the scoring with a low drive into the bottom corner, but Levante equalised to leave Elche just three points above the relegation zone with three games to play.


Brahimi suffered a torrid weekend as he was sent off for two bookings early in the second half and watched his side lose 3-0 to Rayo Vallecano. The Algeria midfielder will miss the Andalusians' trip to Real Sociedad next Monday as they remain in need of a win to seal top-flight status next season.



Nigerian striker Obinna played a role in Chievo's goal in a 2-1 loss at Sampdoria, running down on goal to prompt a foul by Mustafi Shkodran, who was sent off. Cyril Thereau gave the visitors a 66th-minute lead from the resultant penalty, after which Obinna was substituted and greeted warmly by coach Eugenio Corini for his contribution.


There was a hint of offside when Gervinho tapped home from close range after Milan 'keeper Christian Abbiati had beaten away an angled shot from Francesco Totti, but the Ivorian's 65th-minute goal -- his ninth of the campaign -- stood and helped secure a 2-0 win.


Taarabt has often stood out for a mediocre Milan side since joining in January, but on this occasion the Moroccan international was powerless against a Roma side intent on taking the title fight against leaders Juventus all the way to the finish. Taarabt had two late shots stopped by Morgan De Sanctis but he, like Milan on the whole, were below par.



France-born Togo forward Gakpe is enjoying the most prolific season of his career. He scored his seventh of the Ligue 1 campaign -- and his fourth goal in his last three games -- to earn Nantes a 1-1 home draw against Marseille. The result helped guarantee Nantes' top-flight survival.


Burkina Faso star Traore, 26, has had an underwhelming season by his standards, but he scored his first goal since December to earn Lorient a 1-1 draw at Brittany rivals Rennes.


Ivorian Kalou had an eventful evening as Lille beat Bordeaux 2-1 to close in on Champions League qualification. He headed his 13th league goal of the campaign to put Lille in front midway through the first half, but later saw another attempt strike the post and had a stoppage-time penalty saved.


CEDRIC MAKIADI (Werder Bremen)

The Democratic Republic of Congo midfielder provided the final pass for Czech defender Theodor Gebre Selassie as Werder Bremen opened the scoring, but went on to suffer a 5-2 drubbing at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. Winger Makiadi spotted Gebre Selassie unmarked with a pin-point accurate pass with 10 minutes gone and the Czech defender fired Bremen into a shock lead.

SAMI ALLAGUI (Hertha Berlin)

The Tunisia winger scored his ninth goal of the season in Hertha's 2-0 win at home to Bundesliga bottom side Eintracht Frankfurt to give the capital city club their first win in 10 games. Allagui drilled home Adrian Ramos's final pass to hand the hosts the three points at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.


DAME N'DOYE (Lokomotiv Moscow)

The Senegalese striker, who came off the bench midway through the second half of a 3-1 win at FC Krasnodar, failed to convert a close-range chance before creating a late goal that was ruled offside.


The Ivory Coast striker raised his season goal tally to 16 by winning a penalty and scoring from it in a 2-1 home win over Rubin Kazan. Doumbia also set up the opening goal for third-place CSKA.

Source: AFP