African players in Europe: Historic En-Nesyri hat-trick
Moroccan Youssef en-Nesyri was the star African performer in Europe at the weekend as he became the first Leganes player to score a Spanish La Liga hat-trick.
PARIS - Moroccan Youssef en-Nesyri was the star African performer in Europe at the weekend as he became the first Leganes player to score a Spanish La Liga hat-trick.
The 21-year-old brushed aside praise of his performance, saying: "It was not a personal success, rather a collective effort."
His goals delivered a 3-0 home win over sixth-placed Real Betis and lifted Leganes, a team based in the outskirts of Madrid, into 11th position.
MOHAMED SALAH, SADIO MANE (Liverpool)
Salah's 20th goal of the season in all competitions in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth made early-season predictions that he had lost his spark look well wide of the mark. His Senegalese teammate Mane opened the scoring with a header to get on the score sheet for the fourth successive league match and he should have added to his tally. The remarkable scoring trident of Salah, Mane and Brazilian Roberto Firmino have scored 14 of Liverpool's past 15 Premier League goals.
SOL BAMBA (Cardiff City)
The Ivorian defender put his club ahead on the way to a dramatic 2-1 away win over fellow strugglers Southampton. Bamba broke the deadlock on 69 minutes with a smart finish at the far post.
WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)
Once again, the Ivorian showed how crucial he is to Palace's survival hopes, returning from suspension to equalise against West Ham in a 1-1 draw. He went close minutes later to securing all three points in an eye-catching performance.
YOUSSEF EN-NESYRI (Leganes)
The Moroccan forward was electric at Butarque, scoring twice before half-time and adding a third shortly after the hour-mark. His first two were both instinctive finishes in the box while he completed the treble by racing in behind Betis' defence and guiding a shot into the bottom corner.
ABDOULAYE BA (Rayo Vallecano)
Ba headed in for his first goal of the season but it was not enough for relegation-threatened Rayo as Espanyol came from behind to win 2-1. The Senegalese defender stooped low to glance home in the 33rd minute at the RCDE Stadium only for Espanyol to hit back in the second half as Borja Iglesias scored from the penalty spot and Sergi Darder grabbed a winner in injury-time.
OLA AINA (Torino)
On-loan Chelsea defender Aina's header earned Torino a 1-0 win over Udinese in a roller-coaster game that included two disallowed goals, a red card, a missed penalty and 11 minutes of stoppage time. The Nigerian international nodded in after 31 minutes, leaving Torino four points off the Europa League berths. "It was a crazy match, with several decisions made with the VAR, but full of emotions," said Aina,
SALOMON KALOU (Hertha Berlin)
The 33-year-old Ivory Coast striker scored Hertha's superb opener with a mazy run past two defenders before wrong-footing another to score his third league goal this season in a 3-0 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
ISHAK BELFODIL (Hoffenheim)
The Algeria striker played a key part with two late goals in Hoffenheim's stunning fight-back from three goals down to draw 3-3 at league leaders Borussia Dortmund. The 27-year-old tapped home Hoffenheim's first goal with 75 minutes gone and after Pavel Kaderabek added the visitors' second, Belfodil smashed home a header three minutes from time to claim a point.
NABIL BENTALEB (Schalke 04)
The Algeria midfielder sparked a counter-attack with USA international Weston McKennie before Turkey forward Ahmed Kutucu scored against Bayern Munich in Schalke's 3-1 away defeat.
KALIFA COULIBALY (Nantes)
The 1.97cm (6ft 5in) Malian striker scored the opening goal for Nantes as the French club bid an emotional farewell to Argentine striker Emiliano Sala, whose body was recovered this week from a plane that crashed into the sea as he flew to his new Premier League club Cardiff City. The club went into a first-half 2-0 lead only to give that up as frayed nerves led to the bereaved club conceding four second-half goals and lose 4-2.