African stars Mahrez, Aubameyang on target

Manchester City’s Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure controls the ball/ AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF

African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez and his predecessor, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, were among the goal scorers in the major European leagues at the weekend.

Algerian Mahrez claimed the second goal as a Leicester City revival continued with a 3-1 win over English Premier League strugglers Hull City.

Aubameyang bagged a brace when Borussia Dortmund thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 6-2 and the Gabonese remained the leading German Bundesliga scorer with 21 goals.

ENGLAND

RIYAD MAHREZ (Leicester City)

Was at the heart of much of the Foxes’ best play as the champions recorded back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since last April in a 3-1 victory at home to Hull City, a result that gave his side six points out of six since the controversial sacking of former manager Claudio Ranieri and bolstered their hopes of top-flight survival. Algeria winger Mahrez has largely failed to hit the heights of last season, but he showed some of the flair that propelled Leicester to a 5,000/1 title triumph in scoring their second goal against Hull just before the hour mark, evading several defenders with a jinking run before beating Eldin Jakupovic with a low shot.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Often accused of only showing glimpses of his unquestioned talent, the forward demonstrated just what he was capable of as Palace climbed out of the bottom three with a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion. Having tormented home right-back Craig Dawson almost from the kick-off, it was the Ivory Coast international who opened the scoring with a superbly-taken goal. Receiving the ball on his chest following a long pass from Yohan Cabaye, his next touch with his left foot took Chris Brunt out of the game and he then struck a low shot past Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster into the corner of the net.

YAYA TOURE (Manchester City)

The Ivory Coast midfielder demonstrated his enduring class and power by initiating the move that led to City’s opening goal in a 2-0 win at bottom-of-the-table Sunderland. It was his run towards the end of the first half that put Sunderland on the defensive, with his pass finding David Silva, who in turn released Raheem Sterling to provide a deflected cross turned in by Sergio Aguero.

VICTOR WANYAMA (Tottenham Hotspur)

The midfielder may not make headlines in the manner of a Harry Kane or Dele Alli, but he is becoming an increasingly important figure as second-place Spurs continue their quest for the Premier League title. In a 3-2 win against Everton at White Hart Lane, he was unlucky not to put Spurs 2-0 in front when a curling shot from distance grazed the post.

SPAIN

AISSA MANDI (Real Betis)

Algeria captain Mandi scored with a spectacular acrobatic volley against Real Sociedad for his second goal of the season. The centre-back hooked Dani Ceballos’s cross into the far corner despite having his back to goal to level the scores at 1-1, but Sociedad eventually ran out 3-2 winners.

CEDRIC BAKAMBU (Villarreal)

Democratic Republic of Congo striker Bakambu thought he had scored his fifth goal of the season, but ultimately his strike was credited as a Diego Lopez own-goal as the ball ricocheted off the post and in off the unfortunate Espanyol goalkeeper as Villarreal won 2-0.

ITALY

MOHAMED SALAH (Roma)

For reasons known only to Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, on-form Salah started on the bench for a crucial home clash with Napoli that ended in a morale-crushing 2-1 defeat and blew a hole in Roma’s title hopes. Salah only replaced Stephan El Shaarawy with 20 minutes remaining, but his impact was immediate and, later, had Spalletti hinting he’d perhaps made a selection blunder. Thanks to two-goal hero Dries Mertens, Napoli had taken their lead to 2-0 by the time Salah arrived on the scene. The Egyptian brought much-needed pace and energy to Roma’s sluggish game but, agonisingly, saw a late strike come off Pepe Reina’s post. Roma remain second, eight points behind Juventus.

FRANCE

CHEIKH NDOYE (Angers)

The Senegalese midfielder scored his first goal since December as Angers climbed into the top half of the table with a 3-2 win at Caen — the club’s fourth victory in a row. Ndoye, 30, headed in a cross from compatriot Issa Cissokho to put Angers ahead for the second time on 21 minutes.

SERGE AURIER (Paris Saint-Germain)

The Ivorian full-back won a controversial late penalty as Paris Saint-Germain ground out a 1-0 win at home to Nancy. The visitors were furious when Aurier went to ground under minimal contact from goalkeeper Sergey Chernik, with Edinson Cavani converting the resulting spot-kick.

GERMANY

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Borussia Dortmund)

Dortmund’s Gabon hot-shot netted twice in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-2 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen to leave him as the league’s top scorer with 21 goals in as many games. He is two clear of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. Despite his goals, ‘Auba’ could be in trouble with Dortmund’s bosses for facing Leverkusen with a red Nike logo dyed into his hair when the club is sponsored by Puma.

NABY KEITA (RB Leipzig)

The Guinea midfielder’s stellar season continues as he weighed in with an assist — his eighth of the season — in RB Leipzig’s 2-2 draw at Augsburg. The 22-year-old playmaker slid his pass through the defence to Timo Werner for RB’s top scorer to beat two opponents and bang home his 14th league goal this season. Keita then picked up a booking for a foul on Dominik Kohr.

NABIL BENTALEB (Schalke 04)

The Algeria attacking midfielder netted a first-half penalty to make it 1-1, but was powerless to prevent Schalke 04 losing 4-2 to Borussia Moenchengladbach. The 22-year-old has only missed one league game this season, contributing five goals and three assists, playing well in a struggling Schalke team which is winless in their last five games.



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