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|African players in Europe: Salah, Mane finally combine for goal by flowbaze: 6:00 pm On May 10, 2021|
African Footballer of the Year award winners Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah combined for a Premier League goal for the first time this season as Liverpool beat Southampton 2-0 at Anfield.
Senegalese Mane nodded in a cross from Egyptian Salah to put the Reds en route to three points that kept alive hopes of a top-four finish and a Champions League place next season.
Salah was voted the top African player in 2017 and 2018 and Mane succeeded him.
Here, AFP Sport rounds up the performances of Africans in the major European leagues at the weekend:
Reigning champions Liverpool have not had much to celebrate during a difficult defence of their title, but Mane helped give them something to cheer by opening the scoring in a 2-0 win over former club Southampton. He put Jurgen Klopp’s side on course for a first win in four games in all competitions in the 31st minute by heading past goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
HAKIM ZIYECH (Chelsea)
The Morocco midfielder equalised as Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 in a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final. Chelsea levelled soon after the hour mark when Ziyech received a pass from Cesar Azpilicueta just outside the box and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.
BERTRAND TRAORE (Aston Villa)
The Burkina Faso forward gave the Midlands club the lead against Manchester United with a superb goal. He turned sharply in the penalty area and shrugged off Victor Lindelof before smashing the ball into the top corner from an acute angle in the 24th minute. But the visitors hit back to win 3-1 with a trio of second-half goals.
Sevilla goalkeeper ‘Bono’ was undone by a deflected shot in the 94th minute as Real Madrid salvaged a 2-2 draw in a crucial game at the top of La Liga. Toni Kroos’ shot squirmed past the Moroccan after taking a touch off the foot of Eden Hazard on its way in.
Ivorian Kessie missed a penalty awarded just before the hour in Turin when Juventus skipper Giorgio Chiellini handled. Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved Kessie’s weak effort from the spot but Milan won 3-0 to stay on track for a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2014.
VICTOR OSIMHEN (Napoli)
Nigerian Osimhen scored twice as Napoli beat Spezia 4-1 to remain in the chase for a return to the Champions League next season. Osimhen netted in each half for his first Serie A brace and set up Hirving Lozano for the fourth goal.
KEITE BALDE (Sampdoria)
Senegalese Balde pulled a goal back for Sampdoria in a 5-1 thrashing by newly-crowned champions Inter Milan. Monaco loanee Balde turned in a rebound following a save from Samir Handanovic on 35 minutes for his sixth goal this season.
The Tunisian midfielder’s first-half mistake proved costly as Cologne slumped to a 4-1 defeat by Freiburg and missed the chance to lift themselves out of the drop zone. Skhiri failed to clear the ball in the 18th minute, allowing Freiburg to regain possession and Nils Petersen to prod home the opener.
KEVIN AKPOGUMA (Hoffenheim)
The Nigeria defender scored his first Bundesliga goal as his side came from two goals down to beat relegated Schalke 4-2. Akpoguma headed in a cross to equalise on 51 minutes, as Hoffenheim scored four times in 19 minutes to turn the game on its head.
RAMY BENSEBAINI (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
The Algerian left-back cut an unfortunate figure as his side were thumped 6-0 by freshly crowned champions Bayern Munich. Bensebaini slipped in the build-up to the second goal, allowing Kingsley Coman to sprint away and cross to Jamal Musiala, who set up Thomas Mueller in the box.
Mounie, who was born in Benin before being brought up in France, twice put Brest in front away at Nice but could not prevent his side sliding to a 3-2 defeat that leaves them just three points above the bottom three with two games left.
KALIFA COULIBALY (Nantes)
After 18 months without a goal, giant Malian striker Coulibaly has now scored in back-to-back matches for Nantes. He scored a penalty in last week’s 4-1 victory at Brest and then headed in the opener in a 3-0 defeat of Bordeaux that boosted his club’s hopes of avoiding relegation.
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