Paris, France, Feb 26 – Egyptian Mohamed Salah demonstrated again why is the top African performer in the major European leagues this season by scoring in a sixth consecutive match for Liverpool at the weekend.
The 2017 African Footballer of the Year struck the second goal during a 4-1 Premier League thrashing of West Ham, taking his season tally to 31 in all competitions since arriving at Anfield from Roma.
Moroccan Youssef en-Nesyri had an eventful match for bottom La Liga club Malaga as he scored, had a penalty saved and was red-carded after two cautions.
MOHAMED SALAH/SADIO MANE (Liverpool), CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (West Ham)
By scoring, Salah equalled Luis Suarez’s best return in a campaign for Liverpool. He steered home into the far corner on his trusted left foot before Mane got in the act by slotting home Andrew Robertson’s low cross for his 13th goal of the season. West Ham’s solitary response came from Mane’s Senegalese international teammate Kouyate intercepting a Liverpool attack and freeing Michail Antonio to score from a narrow angle.
RIYAD MAHREZ (Leicester)
Mahrez was denied his first goal since ending a self-imposed exile at Leicester by a fantastic save from Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland as the Foxes were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw. The Algerian was starting his first Premier League game since missing 10 days training after Leicester rejected Manchester City’s advances in the final days of the January transfer window. And he nearly made a match-winning contribution with a trademark left-foot strike from outside the box, but Butland made amends for his earlier own-goal with a spectacular stop.
YOUSSEF EN-NESYRI (Malaga)
The 20-year-old Morocco striker enjoyed a great start to the game at Athletic Bilbao before it ended in disappointment and disgrace. En-Nesyri put rock-bottom Malaga ahead in the 13th minute but then missed a penalty on the hour after his spot-kick was saved by Bilbao ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. He was then red-carded six minutes from time after picking up two yellow cards. Bottom club Malaga lost 2-1.
MBAYE NIANG (Torino)
Senegalese international Niang equalised for Torino four minutes after the break, but hosts Verona sealed a 2-1 win 13 minutes from time. It was the 23-year-old Niang’s fourth goal since joining the Turin club in the middle of last year from AC Milan after a loan spell at Watford.
FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan)
Ivorian Kessie is feeling more at home at AC Milan under new coach Gennaro Gattuso than predecessor Vincenzo Montella. “Gattuso is making us work harder, especially on tactics,” said Kessie, 21, after a 2-0 win at Roma. “With Montella we did very little work in training, but it’s different with Gattuso and you can see the results on the pitch.” Kessie has made 25 appearances since his loan move from Atalanta.
ISHAK BELFODIL (Werder Bremen)
The Algeria striker played a key role in Rick van Drongelen’s own goal as Werder Bremen climbed out of the relegation places with a 1-0 win against Hamburg in a bad-tempered north German derby. Bremen claimed the 86th-minute winner when Van Drongelen nudged the ball over the line as he tried to stop Belfodil getting his foot to it in a goalmouth scramble.
NABIL BENTALEB (Schalke 04)
Algeria’s former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder marked his Schalke comeback with a late penalty in a 2-0 win at 10-man Bayer Leverkusen. Having been dropped from the squad a fortnight ago and told to sort out his attitude, Bentaleb came off the bench midway through the second half and drilled home a late spot-kick which lifted Schalke to third.
WAHBI KHAZRI (Rennes)
Tunisian Khazri scored a 47th-minute penalty to send Rennes on their way to a 2-0 victory over Troyes. Senegalese forward Ismaila Sarr earnt the spot-kick when he was fouled by Jimmy Giraudon. On-loan Sunderland midfielder Khazri then sent goalkeeper Erwin Zelazny the wrong way from 12 yards.