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African players in Europe: newly promoted Mahrez punishes United



Algeria captain and Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez took advantage of his promotion to the starting line-up against Manchester United by scoring twice in a 4-1 Premier League win over the weekend.

As a substitute in the previous two league games, the African Footballer of the Year rewarded 2016 manager Pep Guardiola with the last two City goals in the derby romp at the Etihad Stadium.

It was a welcome change of fortune for the 31-year-old Paris-born star, who had scored just once in 15 previous games against fierce rivals United.

Here, AFP Sport highlights Africans who have excelled in the major European competitions:

ENGLAND

RIYAD MAHREZ (Manchester City)

Mahrez starred in City’s 4-1 demolition of United, scoring two goals to take his season tally to 21 in all competitions. His first goal was a stunning half volley from the edge of the area after being found by a corner from Kevin De Bruyne, and he scored another late to complete the defeat.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Ivory Coast international Zaha scored a penalty for Palace in their 2-0 win over Wolves, awarded for a foul by Max Kilman over Ghanaian Jeffrey Schlupp. Zaha’s ninth league goal of the season propelled Palace into the top half of the league table.

SADIO MOON (Liverpool)

Liverpool forward Mane, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal last month, was on target against West Ham midway through the first half at Anfield, finishing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross-cum-shot. The three points kept Jurgen Klopp’s men on the heels of leader Manchester City.

SPAIN

EDUARDO CAMAVINGA (Real Madrid)

Camavinga, 19, scored his second goal for Real Madrid in a 4-1 win over Real Sociedad. The French midfielder, born in Angola, equalized just before half-time with a beautiful long shot that shot into the corner. Carlo Ancelotti said Camavinga is “an option” to start Wednesday’s Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain, while Toni Kroos is battling a hamstring injury.

ITALY

EMMANUEL GYASI (Spezia)

Ghana forward Gyasi had a golden opportunity to earn Spezia what would have been a deserved draw at Juventus just after half-time, but could only aim a feeble header at Wojciech Szczesny with the goal at his mercy. Spezia is four points above the relegation zone in the Serie A after the 1-0 defeat.

KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)

Normally in the headlines for his imperious defensive performances, Senegal captain Koulibaly’s most notable act during Napoli’s 1-0 defeat to Serie A title rival AC Milan was to clatter to match winner Olivier Giroud and give him a bleeding edge. cut that nearly forced the French halfway through the first half of the field.

GERMANY

TAIWO AWONIYI (Union Berlin)

Striker Awoniyi has made his way into the Nigerian squad thanks to an outstanding season in front of goal. But the 24-year-old former Liverpool youngster scored on the wrong side as Union slipped to a 1-0 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg. The capital club need Awoniyi to find the right net if they are to stop their slump and maintain a Champions League push.

FRANCE

LEBO MOTHIBA (Troyes)

The South African scored his first goal since December 2019 when he came off the bench to finish off a 2-0 win over Bordeaux from a penalty spot. Mothiba, 26, was loaned out from Strasbourg in January after signing an extension with the club until 2024 after two years of injury.

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