Kalou hat-trick a World Cup boost for Ivory Coast
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.
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.
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