Paris (AFP) – Africans played leading roles in some of the most surprising results around Europe over the weekend, with Algeria’s Sofiane Feghouli in particular to the fore.
Feghouli starred in Valencia’s stunning win away to Barcelona in La Liga, while Peter Odemwingie helped sink Manchester United on his Stoke City debut and Lorient’s Vincent Aboubakar was among the goals again to help thwart big-spending Monaco in Ligue 1.
VICTOR ANICHEBE (West Bromwich Albion)
Nigerian striker Anichebe rose from the bench to score a 67th-minute equaliser as West Brom held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw. The former Everton forward capitalised on a mistake by Liverpool defender Kolo Toure to smash home from just inside the box and register his second goal for the club.
KOLO TOURE (Liverpool)
Toure was left with his head in his hands after his howler allowed Anichebe to equalise at The Hawthorns. The experienced Ivory Coast centre-back played a blind pass across the edge of his penalty area that was intercepted by the lurking Anichebe, who beat Simon Mignolet with a low shot as Toure looked on in despair.
STEVEN PIENAAR (Everton)
Pienaar’s introduction as a half-time substitute helped Everton come from a goal down to win 2-1 at home to Aston Villa. Roberto Martinez’s side trailed to a Leandro Bacuna goal when Pienaar was sent on, but the South Africa midfielder teed up fellow substitute Steven Naismith for a 74th-minute equaliser. Kevin Mirallas’s late free-kick completed the comeback.
PETER ODEMWINGIE (Stoke City)
Nigerian forward Odemwingie enjoyed a memorable home debut as Stoke beat defending champions Manchester United 2-1 on a windswept afternoon at the Britannia Stadium. Odemwingie, who signed from Cardiff City last week in a part-exchange deal involving Kenwyne Jones, played for the full 90 minutes as Stoke overcame United in the league for the first time since December 1984.
SHOLA AMEOBI (Newcastle United)
Ameobi started a game alongside younger brother Sammy for the first time in his career, but the siblings had a day to forget as Newcastle crashed to a 3-0 defeat at home to local rivals Sunderland. Nigeria striker Shola Ameobi came closest to scoring for the hosts with a second-half header that was cleared off the line by Sunderland goal-scorer Fabio Borini.
YOUSSEF EL ARABI (Granada)
Moroccan forward El Arabi scored his eighth goal of the season as Granada hosted Celta Vigo on Friday.
However, it was Celta who eased their relegation fears with a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Gustavo Cabral and Augusto Fernandez.
SOFIANE FEGHOULI (Valencia)
Feghouli played a major part as Valencia inflicted Barcelona’s first home defeat in La Liga since April 2012 with a 3-2 victory on Saturday.
The Algerian midfielder crossed for Dani Parejo to level the scores at 1-1 just before half-time.
And Feghouli also set up Paco Alcacer’s winner just before the hour mark with another intelligent low cut-back from the right.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Borussia Dortmund)
The Gabon winger netted both of third-placed Borussia Dortmund’s goals in Friday’s 2-1 victory at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig as his side claimed their first win in five league matches.
Aubameyang headed home a first-half Robert Lewandowski cross, then converted the winner from Marco Reus’s pass 25 minutes from the final whistle.
Aubameyang finished the match with 11 league goals for the season — the same tally as the entire Braunschweig team.
MAME DIOUF (Hanover 96)
The Senegal striker scored twice in the last 10 minutes as Hanover 96’s revival under new coach Tayfun Korkut continued with a 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach.
After his forward partner Artjoms Rudnevs put Hanover ahead, Diouf rose highest at the backpost to head home his first on 81 minutes.
In a frantic finish Borussia striker Peniel Mlapa made it 2-1 with a consolation goal on 84 minutes.
But Diouf put the result beyond doubt when he slammed home his second and Hanover’s third on 90 minutes to the delight of the home crowd.
KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (Schalke 04)
The Ghana midfielder fired home Schalke’s winner nine minutes from time to seal a 2-1 victory at home to 10-man VfL Wolfsburg.
The Royal Blues, who have lost just once in nine games, had taken an early lead after a scrappy goal was credited to Brazilian centre-back Felipe Santana as both he and Boateng lunged for the ball.
Wolfsburg drew level despite being down to 10 men, but Boateng grabbed the winner for his sixth goal of the season as Schalke went fourth.
VINCENT ABOUBAKAR (Lorient)
The Cameroon striker played a central role in his side’s 2-2 draw with Monaco. The 22-year-old, who joined Lorient last year from Valenciennes and was part of Cameroon’s 2010 World Cup squad, got the opener with a header from Kevin Monnet-Paquet’s cross. The stalemate dented Monaco’s title hopes.
STOPPILA SUNZU (Sochaux)
The defender, who achieved eternal fame in Zambia when converting the decisive penalty kick in their upset win over Ivory Coast at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, scored the 45th-minute winner in Sochaux’s 1-0 defeat of Nantes. He arrived at Sochaux last month to be reunited with Herve Renard, the man who guided Zambia to become African kings in Gabon. The 24-year-old has signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the struggling club.
RACHID ALIOUI (Guingamp)
The 21-year-old France-born Moroccan scored a quick-fire second-half double in Guingamp’s 3-2 defeat at Bastia. Alioui, who turned down the chance to represent France at youth level to go on and play for the Moroccan Olympic side, has been used sparingly by his club this season. However, he already shone brightly in last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
KWADWO ASAMOAH (Juventus)
Asamoah’s dribbling skills pale in comparison to some of Serie A’s top midfielders, but the Ghanaian’s intelligent reading of the game, space-creating skills, shots and overall presence make up for that shortfall, and were felt throughout Juventus’s 3-1 defeat of Inter Milan in Turin. Asamoah had a number of shots around the area and came close with one effort just before the interval when he left Jonathan in his wake to sting Samir Handanovic’s palms.
SULLEY MUNTARI (AC Milan)
Having come on as a late substitute in last week’s 2-1 away win at Cagliari, Muntari was given the starting nod by coach Clarence Seedorf, who later claimed the Ghanaian’s long-range shots added extra firepower. Muntari was restricted to three shots in total, only one of which came close to worrying Torino ‘keeper Daniele Padelli. Muntari was replaced by Nigel De Jong on 63 minutes though as a defence-minded Torino snatched a 1-1 draw at the San Siro.
SAPHIR TAIDER (Inter Milan)
Taider was kept on the pitch all night by coach Walter Mazzarri but was just as frustrated as other Nerazzurri as Juve harried, attacked and dominated from the outset on their way to a 3-1 win. On a difficult night, the Algerian international was lucky to escape a yellow card following a tackle from behind on Paul Pogba which left the Frenchman writhing in pain.
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