26 April 2016

Africa: History Maker Mahrez Wins Top English Award

Photo: Leicester City
Algeria and Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez

Algeria and Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez crowned a wonderful weekend when he was voted Player of the Year by fellow English Premier League professionals.

The 25-year-old, a key figure in the transformation of Leicester from perennial strugglers to league leaders, is the first African winner of the title.

Hours before the lavish awards ceremony in London, Mahrez opened the scoring for Leicester in a 4-0 drubbing of Swansea City.

ENGLAND

RIYAD MAHREZ (Leicester City)

Mahrez's 17th goal of the season teed leaders Leicester up for a 4-0 win over Swansea City that left them needing five points to claim the title. The Algerian star opened the scoring in the 10th minute, coolly beating Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with his trusty left foot after visiting captain Ashley Williams had played the ball straight at him.

KELECHI IHEANACHO (Manchester City)

Nigerian teenager Iheanacho scored a brace, and won a penalty, as City warmed up for their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid by breezing past Stoke City 4-0. The 19-year-old won the penalty from which Sergio Aguero scored City's second goal and then scored twice in the space of 10 second-half minutes to take his tally for the season to 11 goals, first side-footing home a cut-back from Pablo Zabaleta and then rounding goalkeeper Shay Given to score from Ivorian team-mate Wilfried Bony's pass.

PAPISS CISSE (Newcastle United)

Senegal striker Cisse sparked Newcastle's fightback from 2-0 down at Anfield with a 48th-minute header from an Andros Townsend cross. Jack Colback equalised in the 66th minute to inch Rafael Benitez's side closer to safety.

SADIO MANE (Southampton)

Mane completed a 4-2 victory for Southampton at bottom club Aston Villa after coming off the bench. A 70th-minute replacement for Jay Rodriguez, the Senegalese winger headed in a cross from Cedric Soares deep into stoppage time to bring up his 11th goal of the season.

SPAIN

NABIL EL ZHAR (Las Palmas)

Moroccan winger El Zhar notched his second goal of the season to open the scoring as Las Palmas thrashed Espanyol 4-0 to climb to ninth in La Liga.

FRANCE

NICOLAS NKOULOU (Marseille)

Nkoulou and Marseille continue to endure a nightmare season with a 1-1 draw at home to Nantes extending their club record run without a top-flight win at home to 15 games. Nkoulou's own goal -- the result of a horrible mix-up with goalkeeper Steve Mandanda -- put Nantes ahead before managerless OM came back to equalise.

GIOVANNI SIO (Rennes)

France-born Ivory Coast international Sio rescued a point for Rennes at home to Monaco with a controversial goal. He clearly handled the ball before bundling in to make it 1-1 and keep the Brittany side just about in contention for European qualification.

GERMANY

ANTHONY UJAH (Werder Bremen)

The Nigeria striker came off the bench to head home relegation-threatened Bremen's consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat at Hamburg in the north German derby. Ujah came on for the final 30 minutes, replacing Mali midfielder Sambou Yatabare, and headed home from a suspected off-side position for his 10th league goal of the season.

ERIC CHOUPO-MOTING (Schalke 04)

The Cameroon forward gave Schalke their opening goal from the left wing when he fired home only his fourth in the league this season on 14 minutes before his side slumped to a 3-2 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen. His team-mate Leroy Sane grabbed Schalke's second with half an hour gone before the Royal Blues slumped in the second half by conceding three goals in six minutes.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Borussia Dortmund)

The Gabon striker missed his second consecutive game after succumbing to a foot injury in training. Having sat out last Wednesday's 3-0 win at Hertha Berlin in a German Cup semi-final, 'Auba' also missed the 3-0 weekend victory at VfB Stuttgart. With three league games left, Aubameyang has 23 goals, four less than top-scorer Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich.

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