African football players who excelled this past week in Europe
Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure was on the mark for Manchester City in the English Premier League, while 18-year-old Francois Kamano scored for the first time for Bastia in France.
In Spain Gervinho was in fine form for AC Milan until an ankle injury ended his day before full-time.
Here is a look at the other African players who starred for their respective teams this past week:
YAYA TOURE (Manchester City) Ivorian midfielder Toure confirmed his return to form by scoring his fifth goal in eight games in City’s 3-0 victory at home to Crystal Palace. After David Silva’s brace had put the champions in control, Toure completed victory in the 81st minute by gathering a pass from James Milner and slamming a left-foot shot inside the left-hand post from 15 yards.
YANNICK BOLASIE (Crystal Palace) Despite Palace’s defeat, Bolasie emerged with credit after turning in another livewire display full of his usual flicks and tricks. The Democratic Republic of Congo winger was at his most dangerous in the first half, teeing up Fraizer Campbell for an overhead kick that flashed narrowly wide and crashing a low shot into Joe Hart’s side-netting.
STEPHANE SESSEGNON (West Bromwich Albion) Sessegnon provided two assists as West Brom went 2-0 up at Queens Park Rangers, flicking on a Sebastien Pocognoli corner for Joleon Lescott to head home a 10th-minute opener and releasing Silvestre Varela for the visitors’ second goal 10 minutes later. But a hat-trick by QPR striker Charlie Austin meant that the Benin midfielder finished on the losing side in a 3-2 defeat.
BROWN IDEYE (West Bromwich Albion) Nigerian striker Ideye, West Brom’s record signing, was again selected ahead of Burundi-born England Under-21 international Saido Berahino, but he failed to impress, notably slashing an early shot over the bar after being teed up by Sessegnon. He was replaced in the 69th by Berahino, who struck the crossbar with a late effort.
DIAFRA SAKHO (West Ham United) Sakho has now gone two games without scoring -- his longest goalless run in a West Ham shirt -- after failing to find the net in his side’s 2-0 win over Leicester City. But the Senegalese striker did set up the hosts’ second goal in the 56th minute at Upton Park, intelligently nodding down a high ball for Stewart Downing, who curled home from just outside the penalty area.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBEMAYANG (Borussia Dortmund) The Gabon winger failed to get on the scoresheet despite a shot and setting up team-mates on four other occasions in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 defeat at Werder Bremen to leave last season’s runners-up in the relegation places. With five Bundesliga goals to his credit, Aubemayang is Dortmund’s top scorer at the halfway stage with coach Jurgen Klopp promising the 2013 Champions League finalists will improve when the Bundesliga resumes after the winter break on January 30.
ABDELHAMID EL KAOUTARI (Montpellier) French-born Moroccan international central defender El Kaoutari played his part as Montpellier comfortably held reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain to a 0-0 draw at the Parc des Princes. The 24-year-old, who has played every minute of every match since missing his side’s first game of the campaign, will hope for even better when Montpellier host PSG in the French Cup in their first game of 2015.
FRANCOIS KAMANO (Bastia) The 18-year-old Guinean forward has quickly become a regular for the Corsican side and on Saturday he scored his first Ligue 1 goal, heading home from on the line to open the scoring in Bastia’s 1-1 draw away to fellow strugglers Caen.
ISMAEL BANGOURA (Nantes) Bangoura capped a busy week by starting for Nantes for the first time this season in their 2-1 win away at near neighbours Nantes. Last Tuesday the 29-year-old Guinean striker came off the bench to score with a sumptuous chip in a 4-2 extra-time win over Metz in the League Cup before he declared that he would not go to the Africa Cup of Nations next month, instead opting to focus on his club career.
LACINA TRAORE (Monaco) The giant Ivorian striker has struggled to settle at Monaco and his appearance from the bench at Metz was only his sixth of the season. Nevertheless, he wasted little time in making his considerable presence felt. Barely three minutes after his introduction he set up Yannick Ferreira Carrasco to score the only goal in a 1-0 win.
ODAIR FORTES (Reims) Cape Verde international winger Fortes came into the weekend still without a goal to his name this season but he broke his duck in style at Rennes, a stunning long-range effort not long after coming off the bench helping Reims to an impressive 3-1 win.
CARLOS KAMENI (Malaga) Cameroon international Kameni helped Malaga record their fourth consecutive win in all competitions as the Andalusian outfit recorded a 2-1 win away to Elche and finished 2014 just one point off the Champions League places. With the scores tied at 1-1, Kameni produced a crucial stop for an Aaron Niguez effort, and five minutes later Luis Alberto’s strike sealed the win for the visitors.
GERVINHO (AS Roma) Gervinho was a constant thorn in the side for AC Milan in a scoreless draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, but hobbled off late with a suspected right ankle knock having put his side in sight of a late winner when he burst into the box and fell under a challenge from Alex after a smart one-two with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Before then, the Ivorian had provided the first real threat of the game when he slalomed his way into the Milan area and skipped around Phillipe Mexes to fire a low shot which ‘keeper Diego Lopez did well to block.
SULLEY MUNTARI (AC Milan) Muntari’s time has been restricted of late by Filippo Inzaghi’s use of Andrea Poli in the Milan midfield and the Ghanaian came on for only the final 10 minutes of the Rossoneri’s scoreless draw away to Roma as the visitors looked to secure a precious point on Saturday.
SAPHIR TAIDER (Sassuolo) Every player can have an off-day and Algerian international Taider found himself bogged down in the midfield battles against Cesena on Saturday before finally being substituted in the 69th minute for Sergio Floccari. Sassuolo took the lead minutes later thanks to Simone Zaza’s spot-kick, only for Ze Eduardo to hit a leveller at the death for the Serie A strugglers.
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Published: December 22, 2014 04:00 AM