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Senegal strikers on target in Europe
Africa Cup of Nations title hopefuls Senegal boast one of the deadliest strike forces on the continent and Demba Ba and Moussa Sow made their mark in Europe at the weekend.
Ba bagged a brace for Newcastle in a 4-2 English Premier League loss at Norwich while Sow opened the scoring as reigning French champions Lille triumphed 2-0 over Dijon.
Nigerian midfielder Victor Moses struck the first goal for Wigan in a 2-1 win at fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion and a goal from Kenyan marksman Dennis Oliech helped Auxerre defeat Nice by the same score in France.
ALEX SONG (Arsenal)
The Cameroon midfielder helped the Gunners enjoy their 125th anniversary celebrations in style by providing the inch-perfect pass that enabled striker Robin van Persie to volley home the winner in a 1-0 victory over Everton in front of the Arsenal faithful at the Emirates Stadium.
The Ivory Coast forward endured a frustrating match against Everton and was replaced seven minutes from time by Tomas Rosicky. His afternoon was summed up in the first half when, after sprinting clear of the Toffees' defence, his shot was pushed away by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.
VICTOR MOSES (Wigan)
Just a day before his 21st birthday, the Nigerian forward scored his first goal in 13 months as Wigan beat fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the Hawthorns. He reacted quickest when Maynor Figueroa's cross was only half cleared by Youssouf Mulumbu and seized on the loose ball for Wigan's equaliser. He also won the penalty from which Jordi Gomez scored the Latics winner.
DEMBA BA (Newcastle)
The Senegal striker had a superb match in personal terms, scoring both of Newcastle's goals at Carrow Road although his efforts could not prevent a 4-2 defeat by Norwich. Ba drew the visitors level at 1-1 when he took just one touch to control Yohan Cabaye's through-ball and then, with his second, scored his 10th league goal in as many games in first-half stoppage time. And when Newcastle were 3-1 behind and a man down after Dan Gosling was sent off, Ba gave them hope of an improbable point when he spun his defender and slotted in a well-taken second goal.
MOUSSA SOW (Lille)
The 25-year-old Senegalese striker grabbed the first goal in the champions 2-0 win over Dijon which kept them in touch with the leaders and helped make up for their midweek Champions League elimination. It was his sixth goal of the season and came in the 16th minute with a close-range header.
DENNIS OLIECH (Auxerre)
Kenyan international Oliech notched his seventh league goal of the season in the 12th minute of the 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Nice. Israeli teammate Ben Sahar created the opportunity with an accurate cross and Oliech found the target with a header at the near post.
FOUED KADIR (Valenciennes)
Algerian midfielder Kadir scored on the stroke of half-time to give his team a shock 1-0 win over Montpellier, the league leaders' first defeat since September 24. Kadir found the target after a David Ducourtioux free-kick was only parried by Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren.
ISAAC VORSAH (Hoffenheim)
The Ghana defender made his 15th league appearance out of a possible 16 games this season as Hoffenheim earned a 2-0 win at strugglers Nuremberg. The 23-year-old centre-back was solid in defence as the guests prevented Nuremberg from scoring, while striker Vedad Ibisevic netted both Hoffenheim goals.
ARTHUR BOKA (VfB Stuttgart)
The Ivory Coast defender had his work cut out marking Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and the African earned a yellow card for pulling back the Frenchman on the edge of the penalty area in the first half. Although Stuttgart took the lead, Bayern hit back with two goals from Germany striker Mario Gomez to claim the victory which put them three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table.
KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (AC Milan)
The Ghana midfielder played a crucial role in Milan's opening goal in the controversial 2-2 draw at Bologna. Boateng beat two players before feeding Clarence Seedorf, who fired a rasping shot into the top corner. That made it 1-1 and Boateng could have had another assist when his lofted pass found Ignazio Abate, only for the full-back to hit his volley straight at goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet.
SULLEY MUNTARI (Inter Milan)
The Ghana midfielder only came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win against under-strength Fiorentina but was involved in several attacking moves. Inter were already in control but Muntari came close to scoring himself and then also played in Giampaolo Pazzini one-on-one with goalkeeper Artur Boruc but the Italy forward couldn't find the net.
MEHDAI BENATIA (Udinese)
The Morocco centre-back was his usual dominant presence at the heart of the best defence in Serie A. The only surprise was that Udinese conceded a goal in their 2-1 win over Chievo, who have the second worst attack in the league. Benatia even got forward to have a shot that was tipped over by goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino while at the other end he risked giving away a penalty when Sergio Pellissier went down in the box next to him, only the Chievo forward was rightly booked for diving.
IBRAHIMA BALDE (Senegal)
The Senegalese striker has become a more important player for Osasuna this season and scored a key goal at the weekend against Malaga with the side from Pamplona drawing 1-1. Balde fired home from close range after 33 minutes with Malaga failing to clear their lines from a corner. Malaga dominated the match and the Osasuna strikers saw little of the ball with most of the action at the other end but Balde worked hard.
AROUNA KONE (Ivory Coast)
The striker is quickly becoming a star at Levante and he produced another battling performance in attack as Levante consolidated their fourth place in the table with a 1-0 win over Sevilla. It was a special match for Kone as he faced the side he is loaned out from and his Sevilla owners are sure to have noted the impact that the Ivory Coast forward has made and he could have won a penalty on the hour mark when he appeared to be pushed by Federico Fazio inside the box.
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