Kalou hat-trick a World Cup boost for Ivory Coast

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS: Former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou scored his first hat-trick for Hertha Ber­lin in a 3-1 win over Schalke at the week­end, tak­ing his club to fourth in the Bun­desliga.

The Ger­man league goals were a timely boost for the 30-year-old, who teams up with Ivory Coast this week for a home-and-away 2018 World Cup quali­fy­ing tie against Liberia Fel­low Ivo­rian Gerv­inho will join Kalou af­ter con­tin­u­ing a dra­matic re­turn to Serie A form in Italy, scor­ing his sixth goal this sea­son for Roma in a 2-0 derby tri­umph over Lazio

ENGLAND DIEUMERCI MBOKANI (Nor­wich City)

The Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo striker helped the Ca­naries end a run of four straight Pre­mier League de­feats by set­ting up Jonny How­son’s 71st-minute win­ner in a 1-0 vic­tory at home to Swansea when he headed a cor­ner back across the face of goal.

RIYAD MAHREZ (Le­ices­ter City)

Af­ter scor­ing twice in the pre­ced­ing 32 win over West Brom, the hard-work­ing Al­ge­ria winger en­deared him­self still fur­ther to the Foxes’ faith­ful by what he did not do as Le­ices­ter’s dream start to the sea­son con­tin­ued with a 2-1 vic­tory at home to Wat­ford. When Jamie Vardy was brought down in the box with Le­ices­ter 1-0 up, Mahrez would nor­mally have taken the en­su­ing penalty. But hav­ing placed the ball on the spot, Mahrez let Vardy take the kick. The England striker scored to ex­tend his goal se­quence in the Pre­mier League to nine straight games.

ODION IGHALO (Wat­ford)

Fol­low­ing the joy of his dou­ble strike in a 2-0 win over West Ham, the Nige­ria striker en­dured a frus­trat­ing match at Le­ices­ter when, with the game still goal­less, he crashed a shot against the post and then saw goal­keeper Kasper Sch­me­ichel save Al­men Abdi’s fol­low-up.

YAN­NICK BO­LASIE (Crys­tal Palace)

The Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo for­ward scored the Ea­gles’ 21st-minute opener in their im­pres­sive 2-1 win away to Liver­pool with a lethal fin­ish into the bot­tom cor­ner at An­field.

WIL­FRIED BONY (Manch­ester City)

The Pre­mier League lead­ers’ frus­tra­tion in be­ing held to a goal­less draw away to bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble As­ton Villa was com­pounded by the sight of the Ivory Coast for­ward go­ing off early with a ham­string in­jury.

ITALY MO­HAMED SALAH (Roma)

Salah was a thorn in the side of Bayer Lev­erkusen in mid­week when Roma edged the Ger­mans 3-2 in the Cham­pi­ons League but, amid a more muted dis­play against Lazio, the Egyp­tian winger was driven off the pitch on a stretcher with a sus­pected sprained an­kle af­ter a bru­tal chal­lenge by Se­nad Lulic. Roma went on to win 2-0 to lie third in Serie A, just a point be­hind lead­ers Fiorentina and sec­ond-placed In­ter. But Roma coach Rudi Gar­cia was fu­ri­ous about the treat­ment of Salah, es­pe­cially as Lulic went un­pun­ished.

GERV­INHO (Roma)

When Ivo­rian in­ter­na­tional Gerv­inho awoke from his slum­ber to break a

lengthy scor­ing drought in Serie A last month, crit­ics would have been for­given for think­ing it was a flash in the pan. But in Italy’s top flight, re­put­edly one of the world’s most dif­fi­cult for strik­ers, Gerv­inho has been on fire of late and his pur­ple patch con­tin­ued against Lazio. Af­ter Edin Dzeko fired Roma ahead from the penalty spot on 10 min­utes, Gerv­inho capped a solid per­for­mance for the Gial­lorossi with a su­perbly-taken goal that saw him power down­field on to Radja Naing­golan’s through ball, hold off de­fender Du­san Basta and beat ‘keeper Fed­erico Marchetti at his near post. Roma won 2-0 and Gerv­inho has now scored six league goals in 12 games, three less than lead­ers Eder (Sam­p­do­ria) and Gon­zalo Higuain (Napoli).

SERGE GAKPE (Genoa)

Serie A new boys Frosi­none looked to be head­ing for a pre­cious 2-1 home win over Genoa but de­spite be­ing re­duced to 10 men on 36 min­utes when Se­bastien De Maio saw red, the vis­i­tors fought back and snatched a point when Togo in­ter­na­tional Gakpe hit a 75th-minute lev­eller to claim his third goal of the sea­son.

FRANCE BENJAMIN MOUKANDJO (Lori­ent)

The Cameroon striker con­tin­ued his im­pres­sive cam­paign for Lori­ent with a sec­ond-half brace, in­clud­ing a late penalty, as his side beat Troyes 4-1 in Brit­tany. Moukandjo has four goals in his last two games and nine al­to­gether this sea­son, leav­ing him level with Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic at the top of the scor­ers’ charts in France.

DI­DIER NDONG (Lori­ent)

The 21-year-old Gabon mid­fielder, who has been likened to Ghana great Michael Essien, also net­ted in Lori­ent’s big win against Troyes, the strike his sec­ond this sea­son in Ligue 1.

JACQUES ZOUA (Gaz­elec Ajac­cio)

The Cameroon striker is look­ing to re­launch his ca­reer in France with lit­tle Gaz­elec and the 24-year-old, for­merly of Ham­burg, scored his first goal for his new club in their 2-1 win at Reims. Hav­ing failed to win any of their first 10 topflight matches, the Cor­si­cans have now won three on the bounce.

DJIBRIL SIDIBE (Lille)

Full-back Sidibe came off the bench to score a late equaliser, his sec­ond goal of the sea­son, to earn Lille a 1-1 draw with Bas­tia. Born in France and capped at un­der-21 level by the French, the 23year-old is also el­i­gi­ble to rep­re­sent Mali.

GER­MANY SALOMON KALOU (Hertha Ber­lin)

The Ivory Coast striker was de­lighted to score his first hat-trick for Hertha Ber­lin in a 3-1 win at Hanover 96 to go fourth in the Bun­desliga. “It’s nice to be back scor­ing again and help­ing the team. It was im­por­tant af­ter los­ing at home last week. We scored early and I was able to take all my chances,” said the ex-Chelsea vet­eran, who has scored seven goals in 12 league games.

PIERRE-EM­ER­ICK AUBAMEYANG

(Borus­sia Dort­mund)

The Gabon for­ward claimed his 14th league goal of the sea­son and struck again as Bat­man when he re­vealed a Caped Cru­sader themed T-shirt af­ter scor­ing Borus­sia Dort­mund’s win­ner in their 3-2 derby vic­tory over Schalke. The Gabon in­ter­na­tional slot­ted what proved to be the win­ning goal on 48 min­utes and was booked for pulling off his play­ing shirt in cel­e­bra­tion to re­veal a T-shirt bear­ing the text ‘Do you re­mem­ber?’ un­der the Bat­man logo. It was re­fer­ring to the mask-and-cape out­fit he donned in last Fe­bru­ary’s derby vic­tory when he also scored in a 3-0 win over Schalke. —AF

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