PARIS (AFP) – Senegalese Demba Ba scored a sublime goal Monday as FA Cup title-holders Chelsea reached the semi-finals with a 1-0 replay victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
The Ba match-winner completed a profitable weekend for African stars in England with Ivory Coast duo Arouna Kone and Gervinho on target in Premier League matches.
Kone scored a late goal to give Wigan a 1-0 home win over Norwich that took them out of the relegation zone while Gervinho netted as Arsenal kept alive hopes of Champions League football next season with a 4-1 whipping of Reading.
DEMBA BA (Chelsea)
The Senegalese striker settled an FA Cup quarter-final replay against Manchester United four minutes into the second half with a superb goal as he volleyed a Juan Mata pass beyond David De Gea.
AROUNA KONE (Wigan Athletic)
For the second game running, Kone struck a late winner that bolstered Wigan’s fight to avoid relegation. The Ivorian striker buried a low shot from Jordi Gomez’s pass in the 81st minute to secure a 1-0 win at home to Norwich City that lifted Wigan out of the bottom three.
Gervinho scored once and made two goals as Arsenal crushed Reading 4-1 to close to within two points of the Champions League qualifying places. The dreadlocked Ivory Coast forward opened the scoring from Santi Cazorla’s drilled shot in the 11th minute and returned the favour for the Spaniard three minutes into the second half before teeing up Olivier Giroud to drive home Arsenal’s third goal.
YAYA TOURE (Manchester City)
Another Ivory Coast international, Toure created the fourth goal as defending champions City crushed Newcastle United 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium. The former Barcelona player drove into the box before dispatching a fierce shot that flicked off defender James Perch and fizzed past visiting goalkeeper Rob Elliot.
YOUSSOUF MULUMBU (West Bromwich Albion)
Democratic Republic of Congo midfielder Mulumbu picked up one of the most peculiar red cards in Premier League history in his side’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham United. Angered by a challenge from West Ham scorer Gary O’Neil in injury time, Mulumbu picked up the ball and kicked it at his opponent, yielding a straight red from referee Andre Marriner.
EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR (Tottenham Hotspur)
Although Tottenham won 2-1 at Swansea City to climb to third in the table, Togolese striker Adebayor had an afternoon to forget. He shot tamely at Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm after being released by Mousa Dembele early in the first half and was replaced by Jermain Defoe in the 61st minute.
SALOMON KALOU (Lille)
Ivory Coast star Kalou netted for his side in a 2-1 win at Brest, which kept alive hopes of a Europa League place as the northerners moved into fifth place. The 27-year-old struck in the 18th minute after Franco-Algerian Florian Raspentino had put Brest ahead.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Saint-Etienne)
Gabon striker Aubameyang made it 10 goals in 10 games as Saint-Etienne preserved their unbeaten record in 2013 through a 2-2 draw at struggling Troyes. Aubameyang netted for the French League Cup finalists after just eight minutes, nodding in a Josuha Guilavogui cross-shot for his 17th of the season.
ASSANI LUKIMYA (Werder Bremen)
The DR Congo defender played an unwanted part in Bundesliga history in the 1-1 draw at Mainz. After just 12 seconds, he lost possession inside his own area to Andreas Ivanschitz, who squared for Adam Szalai to score one of the fastest goals in the German league.
MOHAMED AMSIF (Augsburg)
Moroccan goalkeeper was beaten twice in his side’s 2-0 home defeat by Hannover, which left Augsburg in the relegation places, five points from safety. Konstantin Rausch beat Amsif with a close-range effort and the same player hit the second in injury time, chipping the ‘keeper.
SIDNEY SAM (Bayer Leverkusen)
Nigerian midfielder Sam won a penalty for his team in the 4-1 win at Fortuna Duesseldorf, which paved the way for the opening goal. Sam was fouled by Leon Balogun and Stefan Kiessling converted from the spot. Sam was also involved in the second goal when his shot was deflected to Andre Schurrle, who drilled the ball home.
KWADWO ASAMOAH (Juventus)
Asamoah returned to the fray for the champions for a crucial away trip to Inter Milan and was a threat throughout against the Nerazzurri at the San Siro. It was the Ghana midfielder’s pass to Alessandro Matri that help set up Fabio Quagliarella for a third-minute wonder strike and Asamoah again provided for Simone Padoin only for Samir Handanovic to tip over. A minute later Matri scored Juve’s second as they ran out 2-1 winners to keep their nine-point lead over Napoli.
SULLEY MUNTARI (AC Milan)
Muntari has regained a regular starting place at AC Milan and was his usual feisty self as the Rossoneri eked out a 1-0 win at Chievo which kept them third, 11 points behind Juve but only two behind Napoli. Muntari saw a shot deflect out for a corner in the 10th minute, but that was his only scoring chance in a game that was far from being a display of flowing, attacking football.
VICTOR OBINNA (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Nigerian forward Obinna was introduced at the start of the second half and came close to equalising several times in a 1-0 loss at Rubin Kazan.
LACINA TRAORE (Anzhi Makhachkala)
The giant Ivory Coast striker squandered several scoring opportunities as title challengers Anzhi suffered a 4-0 hiding away to FC Krasnodar.
ABDUL MAJEED WARIS (Spartak Moscow)
The Ghana striker set up the first goal midway through the opening half of a 2-2 draw with Kuban Krasnodar before being replaced after the break by Irishman Aiden McGeady.
LASS BANGOURA (Rayo Vallecano)
Lass played the full 90 minutes as Rayo lost 3-1 at home to Malaga. The Guinean displayed some impressive footwork and made a couple of trademark jinking runs, but his final delivery into the box was often poor.
MICHAEL ESSEIN (Real Madrid)
Essien once again played both at right-back and in central midfield as Jose Mourinho rested a number of first-team regulars in a 1-1 draw at Real Zaragoza. The Ghanaian twice came close to just his second goal for Los Blancos as he was denied by a fine save from Roberto in the first half before blasting wide when he should have hit the target after the break.
ALEXANDER SONG (Barcelona)
Song started in central midfield for Barcelona at Celta Vigo as Sergio Busquets was rested. The Cameroonian completed the 90 minutes but could not prevent Celta netting a late equaliser.