African players in Europe: Salah back on goal trail

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Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah hand balls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London, on September 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /
Riyad Mahrez PHOTO:AFP
Crystal Palace’s Ivorian-born English striker Wilfried Zaha (L) vies with Chelsea’s English defender Gary Cahill during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge in London on April 1, 2017. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Togo’s midfielder Floyd Ayite (L) challenges Ivory Coast’s midfielder Cheick Doukoure during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group C football match between Ivory Coast and Togo in Oyem on January 16, 2017. PHOTO: ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP
Napoli’s defender from France Kalidou Koulibaly (2R) vies with Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric (L), Real Madrid’s Brazilian midfielder Casemiro (2L) and Real Madrid’s defender Dani Carvajal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs SSC Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 15, 2017. PHOTO: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
PHOTO:AFP

Reigning African Footballer of the Year Mohamed Salah got back on the goal trail at the weekend, scoring the English Premier League winner for Liverpool at Huddersfield.

After bagging 44 goals for the Reds in all 2017/2018 competitions, the Egyptian has found defences far harder to breach this season, netting just four times so far.

Algerian Riyad Mahrez, who Salah succeeded as African Footballer of the Year, was among the scorers as defending champions Manchester City routed Burnley 5-0 to remain top of the table.

England
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)

After a difficult start following last season’s prolific campaign, Salah ended a four-match goal drought for Liverpool in fine style when he calmly latched on to Xherdan Shaqiri’s through ball and beat goalkeeper Jonas Lossl with a well-angled shot as the title-chasing Reds won 1-0 at Huddersfield.

RIYAD MAHREZ (Manchester City)

The Algeria winger, City’s club-record signing, is looking increasingly assured at the Etihad and scored the fourth goal in the champions’ 5-0 rout of Burnley with a superb left-footed curling shot from just outside the area seven minutes from time.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

A frustrating match for the Ivory Coast striker at Goodison Park saw him earn a penalty when brought down by Seamus Coleman only for Luka Milivojevic’s spot-kick to be saved by Jordan Pickford in a match Everton went on to win 2-0.

Spain
CHEICK DOUKOURE/EMMANUEL BOATENG (Levante)

Ivorian Doukoure and Ghanaian Boateng helped Levante hold on for a 2-1 La Liga victory at European champions Real Madrid. They both came off the bench in the second half at the Santiago Bernabeu as Levante struck their first away win over Real in 11 years. “Great win and good teamwork,” Boateng posted in an Instagram message.

Italy
KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly told his board to sign Senegal star Koulibaly, who continues to thrive at the heart of Carlo Ancelotti’s central defence as he once again shone in the heat of the action as Napoli strode to a 3-0 win at Udinese. The 27-year-old has played in every Napoli league match this season and has been described as “the best defender in the world” by former Italian international Guglielmo Stendardo.

Germany
SALOMON KALOU (Hertha Berlin)

The Ivory Coast veteran was a threat in Hertha’s 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg with two clear second-half chances after Ondrej Duda’s early goal for Berlin was cancelled out by Robin Koch. Kalou’s second-half replacement, Palko Dardai, won a late penalty for Hertha, which was overturned after the video assistant referee (VAR) spotted that he instigated the dive.

France
NICOLAS PEPE (Lille)

France-born Ivory Coast striker Pepe converted a first-half penalty to give second-place Lille an early lead en route to a 2-1 victory at lowly Dijon. It was his seventh Ligue 1 goal this season — two less than chart-topper Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.

LEBO MOTHIBA (Strasbourg)

Mothiba returned from Africa Cup of Nations qualifying duty with South Africa to increase the lead through an 84th-minute goal for seventwasace Strasbourg in a 2-1 home victory over strugglers Monaco, who were playing for the first time under new coach Thierry Henry.