PARIS (AFP) – Ivorian Yaya Toure, South African Steven Pienaar and Kenyan Dennis Oliech were among the African scorers in the top European football leagues at the weekend.
Reigning African Footballer of the Year Toure collected his ninth goal of the season and first since February for deposed English Premier League champions Manchester City with a late thunderbolt in a 2-1 home win over West Ham.
Retired South Africa captain and midfielder Pienaar scored the only goal as Everton edged Fulham while in France Kenya striker Oliech netted in stoppage time to earn struggling Ajaccio a key 2-1 win over Montpellier.
STEVEN PIENAAR (Everton)
The South Africa midfielder kept his team’s European ambitions alive with the first-half winner in a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Goodison Park. Pienaar produced a cool finish to a fine move involving Leon Osman and Seamus Coleman in the 16th minute. The strike took Pienaar’s goal tally for the season to seven.
YAYA TOURE (Manchester City)
The Ivory Coast midfielder scored one of the best goals of his illustrious career to clinch a 2-1 win over West Ham at Eastlands. Toure lashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area in the 83rd minute, putting Roberto Mancini’s men two goals in front and killing off the Hammers in the process.
DEMBA BA (Chelsea)
The Senegal striker failed to hit the target in his side’s 2-0 victory against Swansea at Stamford Bridge. Ba was restored to the starting line-up after being rested for the midweek Europa League win over Basle, but the former Newcastle star played second fiddle to Oscar and Frank Lampard, who scored the first-half goals that lifted the Blues into third place.
AROUNA KONE (Wigan)
The Ivory Coast forward drew a blank as the Latics were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw against Tottenham at the DW Stadium. Roberto Martinez’s team recovered from Gareth Bale’s opener to take a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Emmerson Boyce and Callum McManaman. But with Kone below his best, Wigan couldn’t kill the game off and Tottenham snatched a late equaliser through Boyce’s own goal.
CHEICK TIOTE (Newcastle)
The Ivory Coast midfielder had a day to forget as Newcastle suffered their heaviest home defeat for 88 years in a 6-0 thrashing by Liverpool. Tiote was also involved in a clash with Glen Johnson that saw the Liverpool defender booked, while the Ivorian, who was fortunate to escape punishment in that incident, was eventually substituted in the 65th minute.
SALOMON KALOU (Lille)
The Ivory Coast international was on target twice and appeared to have propelled Lille to a ninth win in 11 matches before Rudi Garcia’s side let a three-goal lead slip away in a 3-3 draw against Sochaux. In-form Kalou struck his first on 26 minutes as he rifled home from outside the area for the game’s opening goal. He then doubled the home side’s advantage — and took his personal tally to 10 for the season — on the stroke of half-time after latching onto Marvin Martin’s pass and firing beyond Simon Pouplin on the turn.
DENNIS OLIECH (Ajaccio)
The Kenya striker netted his third goal of the season for Ajaccio in second-half stoppage time to hand the Corsican side a priceless 2-1 victory against Montpellier. Oliech headed home substitute Andy Delort’s cross in the 91st minute to hand Albert Emon’s side a first win in six outings and lift them four points above the relegation zone.
ANDRE AYEW (Marseille)
The elder of the Ayew brothers played a key role in Mathieu Valbuena’s decisive strike as Marseille won 1-0 at Lorient to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches. The Ghanaian international ran onto Andre-Pierre Gignac’s lofted pass before seeing his shot well blocked by goalkeeper Fabien Audard only for the rebound to bounce out to Valbuena, who drilled home from the edge of the box. Ayew’s on-pitch performance was overshadowed, though, by a red card shown to him — as well as Audard — after the final whistle after a scuffle between both sides.
DIDIER YA KONAN, MAME DIOUF (Hanover 96)
Both Ivorian Ya Konan and Senegalese Diouf provided final passes rather than goals as Hanover sealed a late 3-2 win at Greuther Furth. Ya Konan set up Mohammed Abdellaoue to put Hanover ahead and Diouf provided the pass for Sergio Pinto to hit the winner three minutes from time. The defeat confirmed Furth’s relegation on their debut season in the Bundesliga.
KEVIN PRINCE BOATENG (AC Milan)
As the end of the season approaches, Boateng is improving with every new hairstyle. In a 4-2 win over Catania, the Germany-born Ghanaian, playing on the right of a forward trident including Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy, came close to scoring on several occasions, notably seeing a neat snap shot come off the crossbar from 10 metres. Milan’s star was Giampaolo Pazzini, who came off the bench to score a double and give the hosts a 3-2 lead before Balotelli made it four from the penalty spot in injury time.
KWADWO ASAMOAH (Juventus)
After a patchy performance last week, Asamoah returned to his usual best in Juve’s 2-0 derby win over Torino. The Ghanaian is adept at using his powerful physique to keep opponents off the ball but he produced a number of ball-winning tackles to help relaunch several offensives. Asamoah’s crosses from the right and his ability to beat defenders continue to give Juve crucial attacking options.
DAME N’DOYE (Lokomotiv Moscow)
The Senegalese striker scored his eighth goal of the season in the 20th minute, heading home a precise cross from Renat Yanbayev to help Lokomotiv defeat Rostov 3-1 and end a seven-match winless streak. N’Doye was booked for a tackle from behind later in the opening half.
EMMANUEL EMENIKE (Spartak Moscow) 2-0
The Nigerian forward came on as a second-half substitute and a foul on him by the Anzhi Makhachkala goalkeeper enabled Dmitry Kombarov to convert the penalty and seal a 2-0 victory. A knee injury forced joint 2013 Africa Cup of Nations leading scorer Emenike to retire a minute from time.
PAPE DIAKHATE, YOUSSEF EL-ARABI (Granada)
Senegalese defender Diakhate and Moroccan forward El-Arabi started as Granada registered their first win in 10 games with a 1-0 victory at Levante. Diakhate played the full 90 minutes and marshalled the defence well as just a second clean sheet in 12 games helped move the Andalusians out of the relegation zone.
MICHAEL ESSIEN (Real Madrid)
Essien returned from injury as Real continued their Madrid derby dominance with a 2-1 win at Atletico. The Ghanaian played the full 90 minutes at right-back and could be in contention to start Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second-leg clash with German visitors Borussia Dortmund.