26 February 2013

Africa: Yaya Toure Leads African Goal Charge in England

Reigning African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure and fellow Ivorian Arouna Kone were among the English Premier League scorers at the weekend.

Toure curled the ball majestically into the far corner to set Manchester City on the way to a 2-0 home win over Chelsea that left them 12 points behind Manchester United in the title race.

Kone, who had little game time at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, bagged a brace in the final minutes of the opening half as Wigan won 3-0 at Reading in a battle of relegation candidates.

ENGLAND

AROUNA KONE (Wigan)

Ivorian striker Kone claimed a quick-fire brace to set Wigan on their way to a 3-0 win at Reading that lifted them out of the relegation zone. Kone opened his account in the 44th minute, bundling in from a Maynor Figueroa header, before adding a coolly-taken second from Jean Beausejour's pass a minute later.

KEI KAMARA (Norwich)

Kamara claimed his first goal in English football with an 84th-minute equaliser as Norwich came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Everton. The Sierra Leone midfielder, on loan from US side Sporting Kansas City, struck with a header before Grant Holt completed Norwich's comeback in injury time.

STEPHANE SESSEGNON (Sunderland)

Sessegnon registered his first goal in 12 games but it was not enough to prevent Sunderland from going down 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion. The Benin international found the target in the 79th minute with a shot that took deflection off West Brom defender Jonas Olsson.

YAYA TOURE (Man City)

The Ivory Coast midfielder helped keep his side's title hopes alive with a fine individual goal in the champions' 2-0 win over Chelsea at Eastlands. Just 10 minutes after City had escaped when Joe Hart saved Frank Lampard's penalty, Toure made Chelsea pay with some nifty footwork to open space for a low curling shot past Petr Cech in the 62nd minute.

PAPISS DEMBA CISSE (Newcastle)

The Senegal striker scored one of the goals of the season as Newcastle moved clear of the relegation zone with a crucial 4-2 win over fellow strugglers Southampton. Alan Pardew's side were level at 1-1 until Cisse latched on to Rob Elliot's long punt downfield and smashed a sublime strike past Artur Boruc from 25 yards in the 42nd minute.

FRANCE

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Saint-Etienne)

The Gabon striker scored for the fifth game running in Ligue 1, netting a brace in his side's 3-0 victory over relegation candidates Nancy. With Saint-Etienne leading 1-0, Aubameyang doubled their advantage on 40 minutes after he was afforded too much time by the Nancy defence. He rattled the

crossbar in the second period before racing clear to double his tally a minute from time and take his goal haul to 14 for the season.

NICOLAS N'KOULOU (Marseille)

The Cameroon centre-back had a forgettable evening at Parc des Princes as Marseille lost 2-0 to arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain to fall eight points off the pace. N'Koulou unwittingly redirected Lucas Moura's off-target shot beyond goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for an 11th-minute own goal before picking up a second-half booking for a dive inside the opposition penalty area.

YOUNES BELHANDA (Montpellier)

The Morocco international struck the only goal of the game 10 minutes from time as Montpellier beat Evian 1-0 for their fourth win in five matches. Belhanda controlled Anthony Mounier's pass inside the penalty area before coolly finishing past Bertrand Laquait for his eighth goal of the campaign.

GERMANY

JOEL MATIP (Schalke 04)

The Cameroon defender scored both goals from centre-back as Schalke built on their midweek 1-1 Champions League draw at Galatasaray with a 2-1 victory at home to strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf. It was only the Royal Blues' second league win since mid-November as Matip opened the scoring after 29 minutes when he slammed home Jermaine Jones' header at the far post from a free kick and Matip made sure of the three points when he grabbed his second on 81 minutes.

MAME DIOUF, DIDIER YA KONAN (Hanover 96)

Strikers Diouf of Senegal and Ya Konan of Ivory Coast scored as Hanover routed Hamburg 5-1 at home. Diouf opened the scoring with a header after only seven minutes for his 10th league goal of the season and Ya Konan struck with a spectacular volley from 22 metres on the stroke of half-time before he was given a simple tap-in on 68 minutes to make it 4-1 with Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler all at sea.

ITALY

KEVIN PRINCE BOATENG (AC Milan)

Boateng was one of Milan's star players as the Rossoneri came away from a 1-1 draw in a derby they really should have won against Inter. The forward was solid in both defence and attack and it was his ball which set up Stephan El Shaarawy for a 21st-minute opener.

KWADWO ASAMOAH (Juventus)

Perhaps still feeling the effects of his endeavours at the Cup of Nations, Asamoah was replaced by Juventus coach Antonio Conte in the 77th minute of the Old Lady's 3-0 win over lowly Siena, which boosted the champions lead at the top of Serie A to seven points. Asamoah had enjoyed a solid game for Juve before making way for defender Giorgio Chiellini.

SPAIN

MANUCHO (Valladolid)

The Angolan scored the winner as Valladolid secured their first win in five games with a 2-1 victory at Rayo Vallecano. The former Manchester United striker was on hand to apply an easy finish 10 minutes from time after good work from Alberto Bueno to register his seventh goal of the season.

ODION IGHALO (Granada)

Ighalo scored for the third straight game but could not prevent Granada slipping to a 2-1 defeat at Celta Vigo. The Nigerian fired a wonderful volley into the top right corner of the net from Allan Nyom's cross to equalise on 28 minutes.

ALEX SONG (Barcelona)

Song played the full 90 minutes for only the eighth time in the league this season as Barca came from behind to beat Sevilla 2-1 at Camp Nou.

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