How did the African footballers perform this past weekend in Europe?
An analysis of some of the African footballers’ weekend performances, from Koulibaly’s goal on his home debut to Mane’s impressive performance once more for Bayern.
Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi began repaying Nottingham Forest for the £17.5 million ($21 million) he cost the club with the 1-0 win over West Ham in the English Premier League last weekend.
Joe Aribo, another Nigerian international, scored in the world’s most watched domestic league, inspiring a comeback that earned Southampton a 2-2 draw against Leeds.
Here are some of the weekend’s African newsmakers:
Taiqo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest) – In order to ensure survival, Forest signed a record 15 new signings on their return to the top division for the first time in 23 years.
The largest outlay of that purchasing frenzy was a claimed club record spent on Union Berlin’s Awoniyi. Awoniyi became an immediate hero on his home debut, scoring the game-winning goal as Forest defeated West Ham, despite knowing little about the finish.
West Ham defender Ben Johnson’s block cannoned off Awoniyi’s knee and into the empty net.
Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly – The Senegal captain kicked began his Chelsea career with a goal on his home debut in a tense 2-2 draw with Tottenham.
To volley in Marc Cucurella’s corner, Koulibaly demonstrated the technique of a striker rather than a centre-back.
Joe Aribo (Southampton) – Aribo came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal, perhaps saving Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job, in a 1-1 tie with Leeds.
Saints were losing 2-0 when he came on just after the hour mark, and it took only 10 minutes for the former Rangers man to give Southampton hope by around Illan Meslier and firing into the far corner.
Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich) – Despite failing to score, former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane shined for Bayern in a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg.
Mane had one goal disallowed for offside in each half as he looks to form a connection with German winger Serge Gnabry akin to the one he established with Mohamed Salah at Anfield.
Ademola Lookman (Atalanta) – Atalanta defeated Sampdoria 2-0, owing in part to Lookman’s stunning debut goal.
After dummying the home defense, the Nigeria international finished off a quick counterattack in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a slick finish.
Assan Ceesay (Lecce) – Gambian Ceesay gave Lecce fans hope for a good start to the Serie A season when he superbly finished off Federico Di Francesco’s clever through ball to bring the promoted team level with Inter Milan.
It was not to be, as Inter’s Denzel Dumfries scored a last-gasp victory.
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