Africans score big in Europe
The new football season is almost three months old and the goals column has certainly not disappointed. Africa’s brightest stars continue to thrive in Europe and have banged in a fair share themselves. We recap the form of some of the continent’s best.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Goals scored this season: 9 Appearances: 13 (1)
Latest: 3-0 Maribor
The Egyptian has been outstanding for Liverpool since joining the club in the transfer window, netting nine goals in all competitions. But he suffered a rare blip last week when his weak first-half penalty was saved by Huddersfield’s Jonas Lössl. Salah was grateful to his teammates as three second-half goals spared his blushes.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) Goals scored this season: 2 Appearances: 4
Latest: 2-2 West Ham
The Ivorian winger secured what could prove to be one of the most valuable points this season for Crystal Palace psychologically, as they forced a draw against West Ham in the dying seconds last week. The Hammers looked home and dry as they entered the seventh minute of time added on but Zaha had other ideas, levelling the match at 2-2 with a piece of individual brilliance.
André Ayew (West Ham)
Goals scored this season: 8 (4) Appearances: 5
Latest: Crystal Palace 2-2
The Ghanaian star, who joined the Hammers in August 2016, has done little to justify his hefty transfer fee. But he showed why Slaven Bilic thought it worth bringing him on board when he put West Ham 2-0 up in the first half against Palace with a stunning 18m strike.
Cédric Bakambu (Villarreal)
Goals scored this season: 9 Appearances: 10 (2)
Latest: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Bakambu’s free-scoring form was brought to an end by Atletico Madrid’s famously mean defence, but Villarreal did escape the Wanda Metropolitano with a 1-1 draw to extend their unbeaten run against Atletico to five games. The Democratic Republic of Congo striker’s best chance came in the first period, when Stefan Savic showed great pace to recover and deny Bakambu a clear run on goal.
Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus) Goals scored this season: 0 Appearances: 5 Latest: Sporting 1-1 Ghanaian Asamoah was instrumental in Gonzalo Higuaín’s double in a 2-0 win for champions Juventus at AC Milan.
Asamoah linked up with Paulo Dybala to pass to Higuaín, who broke the 100-goal barrier with 101 goals in Serie A.
Achraf Lazaar (Benevento)
Goals scored this season: 1 Appearances: 5 (3)
Latest: 1-5 Lazio
Mo r o c c a n L a z a a r scored for Benevento in a 5-1 loss to Lazio — just the fourth goal of the season for the Serie A tail-enders, who notched up their 11th straight defeat since the season began.
Ihlas Bebou (Hanover 96)
Goals scored this season: 5 Appearances: 10 (4)
Latest: 4-2 Dortmund
The Togolese striker became a favourite with Hanover fans after scoring twice in a shock 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund. The 23-year-old, who grew up in Germany, showed terrific pace — and profited from dreadful Dortmund defending — to finish off counterattacks on 40 and 86 minutes. Dortmund’s star Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to score for the third straight game.
Nabil Bentaleb (Schalke 04)
Goals scored this season: 3 Appearances: 7 (1)
Latest: 1-1 Wolfsburg
Algeria’s ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder netted his third goal of the season when he converted a firsthalf penalty in the 1-1 draw at home to Wolfsburg.
Naby Keïta (RB Leipzig)
Goals scored this season: 2 Appearances: 12
Latest: Porto 3-1
The Guinean midfielder picked up a foot injury in Leipzig’s 2-0 defeat at Bayern Munich, but was fit for Wednesday’s Champions League game at Porto. Keïta — who put in an impressive display — limped off on 86 minutes after a kick from Spain international Thiago Alcântara.
Keita Baldé (Monaco)
Goals scored this season: 2 Appearances: 9
Latest: Besiktas 1-1
The 22-year-old Senegalese international scored one of the second-half goals, as defending champions Monaco defeated Nantes 2-0. Baldé, a former Lazio player, was called up to replace the injured Radamel Falcao. He took his chance when Brazilian left-back Jorge delivered a ball into the box that was met by João Moutinho with a cushioned header down for the Senegal striker to finish. — AFP
Action man: Andre Ayew put West Ham 2-0 up with stunning strikes. Photo: Eddie Keogh/ Reuters