Paris, France, Oct 5 – Senegalese forward Ibrahima Niane from French club Metz scored the first hat-trick of his professional career to be the stand out African in Europe at the weekend.
The 21-year-old boosted his chances of a maiden national team call-up by lifting his Ligue 1 goal haul to six from three matches as Metz defeated Lorient 3-1 in a clash of bottom-half clubs.
Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, often the star African performer, bagged a brace for Liverpool in a humiliating 7-2 English Premier League drubbing by Aston Villa.
Here, AFP Sport rounds up the performances of Africans in the top five European leagues.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
His goals were no consolation as champions Liverpool suffered an astonishing defeat at Aston Villa. Although Salah’s double took him to five goals early in the season, he won’t look back on the trip to Villa Park with any fondness. Netting when Liverpool already trailed 2-0 and then 5-1, the 28-year-old could not spare his team’s blushes all by himself.
SERGE AURIER (Tottenham)
The Ivory Coast right-back showed Jose Mourinho what he can bring to the team with a dynamic display in Tottenham’s incredible 6-1 win at Manchester United. Aurier’s place has been under threat this term following the close-season swoop for Wolves defender Matt Doherty. Aurier was handed his first Premier League start of the campaign and scored in the 51st minute with a fierce drive into the far corner from the right side of the United area that put Tottenham 5-1 up.
NICOLAS PEPE (Arsenal)
The Ivory Coast winger scored his first goal of the season to clinch Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Sheffield United. Pepe started on the bench as Gunners boss Mikel Arteta went with Willian on the right flank, but the 25-year-old delivered a well-timed reminder of his qualities in the 64th minute. Just minutes after his introduction, Pepe played a one-two with Hector Bellerin and accelerated toward the United area. With the visitors backing off, Pepe had time and space to guide a fine low finish past Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale into the far corner.
YOUSSEF EN NESYRI (Sevilla)
The Morocco striker came off the bench for Sevilla against Barcelona and almost engineered a winner in the 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. En-Nesyri’s excellent run and cross forced Barca defender Ronald Araujo to divert towards his own goal, but the ball came back off the post and stayed out. Sevilla had earlier taken the lead through Luuk de Jong only for Philippe Coutinho to equalise soon after as the Catalans dropped their first points of the season.
SIMEON NWANKWO (Crotone)/MEDHI BOURABIA (Sassuolo)
Nigeria striker Simy pulled a goal back for promoted Crotone in a 4-1 Serie A defeat to Sassuolo. The 28-year-old scored from the spot five minutes after the break after a foul by Sassuolo’s Moroccan midfielder Bourabia. It was the 10th top-flight goal, and 41st in total for Simy in five seasons with Crotone.
FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan)
Ivory Coast midfielder Kessie played a role in Milan’s third goal as they made it three wins from as many games in the 3-0 victory over promoted Spezia. The 23-year-old’s headed flick-on of an Alexis Saelemaekers cross found Portuguese forward Rafael Leao, who completed a brace.
SALIF SANE (Schalke 04)
The Senegal centre-back made his first start this season after a leg injury as Schalke crashed 4-0 at RB Leipzig to stay rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga. Having been sidelined by a knee injury until February and then torn a muscle in June, Sane had a scare when he suffered a knock to the same leg against Leipzig. “It was just a twinge, I stretched a bit and it was okay, but I was worried because I had injured this knee and I’ve only just returned,” Sane told Sky.
IBRAHIMA NIANE (Metz)
Metz fell behind at home to Lorient before Niane took charge with a three-goal burst that started just before half-time when he converted a penalty. He put his club ahead on 59 minutes and completed his hat-trick five minutes later.
IDRISSA GUEYE (Paris Saint-Germain)/ISMAEL TRAORE (Angers)
Senegal midfielder Gueye scored the fifth goal for defending champions Paris Saint-Germain in a 6-1 rout of Angers, whose only goal came from Ivorian defender Traore. Gueye and Traore have been called up by their countries for the October 5-13 internationals window.