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African players week in Europe: Nigerians hog headlines in EPL

AFP , Monday 14 Sep 2015
Iheanacho and Aubameyang
Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho (L) and Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (R) (Photo: AP)
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Nigerians Kelechi Iheanacho and Odion Ighalo scored match-winning English Premier League goals for Manchester City and Watford at the weekend.

Iheanacho pounced on 90 minutes, just after coming off the bench for City at Crystal Palace, while Ighalo struck just before the hour for Watford at home to Swansea City.

Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang raised his Bundesliga goal tally to five this season by converting two penalties to help Borussia Dortmund triumph 4-2 at Hanover.

England

Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City)

The Nigerian forward made an instant impact on only his second senior appearance by netting a late goal to give leaders City a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace that extended their 100 percent start to the season. The 18-year-old pounced in the 90th minute at Selhurst Park, barely a minute after coming on, poking home from close range after Samir Nasri's snapshot was parried by Palace goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.

Odion Ighalo (Watford)

After two goalless draws at Vicarage Road, Watford scored their first home goal since securing promotion courtesy of Ighalo. The Nigeria striker finished coolly from strike partner Troy Deeney's knock-down in the 59th minute against Swansea City and the hosts survived the dismissal of Valon Behrami for an ugly high challenge on Ghanaian midfielder Andre Ayew to record a first win of the campaign.

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

Nominated for the Premier League's Player of the Month award for August, Algerian winger Mahrez continued his scintillating form by inspiring Leicester to come from 2-0 down and beat Aston Villa 3-2. After setting up a goal for Ritchie De Laet with a 72nd-minute corner, he played a key role in Jamie Vardy's 82nd-minute equaliser and then crossed for substitute Nathan Dyer to head in an 89th-minute winner.

Dieumerci Mbokani (Norwich City)

Democratic Republic of Congo striker Mbokani made his Norwich debut in a 3-1 home win over Bournemouth after joining on a season-long loan from Dynamo Kiev. An 82nd-minute replacement for Cameron Jerome, Mbokani came close to crowning his debut with a goal when he slid in to attack Nathan Redmond's right-wing cross, only to be thwarted by visiting goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Spain

Cedric Bakambu (Villarreal)

DR Congo international Bakambu continued his fine start to life in La Liga with his third goal in two games as Villarreal moved up to fourth with a 3-1 win at Granada.

Nabil Ghilas (Levante)

Algerian striker Ghilas was involved as Levante recorded their first goal of the campaign in a 1-1 draw with Sevilla as his initial shot forced the visitors' goalkeeper Beto into a fine save before Victor Camarasa nodded home the rebound.

Italy

Gervinho (Roma)

Roma fans must be wondering how long Gervinho will stay at the club. The Ivorian striker was almost non-existent for the Serie A giants on his return from the Africa Cup of Nations last season and this season has shown little sign of improvement. Roma won 2-0 at league new boys Frosinone thanks to goals from Iago Falque and Juan Iturbe. Gervinho almost connected with the ball before Falque bundled it into the net on the stroke of halftime, but the striker was all too often mediocre.

Afriyie Acquah (Torino)

Torino's Ghana international Acquah came off the bench to replace Nigerian Joel Obi on 51 minutes, and pounced in the 73rd minute with his maiden goal for the club to pull the match level just a minute after Verona's Juanito Gomez had given the hosts a 2-1 lead. Torino held on for a 2-2 draw that left them third in Serie A, two points behind leaders Inter Milan.

Khouma Babacar (Fiorentina)

Babacar was the hero for Fiorentina, the Senegalese rising high above the Genoa defence to head past 'keeper Eugenio Lamanna on the hour mark. It was a timely goal. Minutes later, Fiorentina's Croatian midfielder Milan Badelj saw red, reducing La Viola to 10 men at their Artemio Franchi stadium. The hosts held on for a precious 1-0 win.

France

Wahbi Khazri (Bordeaux)

The Tunisian winger put a halt to Paris Saint-Germain's perfect start to the season with Bordeaux's 79th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes. Khazri charged down PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, stealing the ball away from the German's toe to fire into an empty net for his third goal in five matches.

Vincent Enyeama (Lille)

The Lille goalkeeper made several crucial saves to hold Lyon to a 0-0 draw at the Stade de Gerland and earn his team a fourth clean sheet in five matches this term. Enyeama twice had the woodwork to thank but made pivotal stops from Mathieu Valbuena and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa late on to preserve a point for Herve Renard's men as they extended their unbeaten run to four games.

Majeed Waris (Lorient)

The Ghanaian scored his first goal for Lorient and set up another as the Brittany side came from behind to beat Angers 3-1 and belatedly notch their first win of the season. Waris, who arrived from Turkish outfit Trabzonspor at the start of August, set up Yann Jouffre for the equaliser right after halftime. The 23-year-old then rounded off a superb team move with a cool finish from the edge of the box to put Lorient ahead on 72 minutes.

Germany

Anthony Ujah (Werder Bremen)

The Nigerian forward, a new recruit from Cologne, scored the second of Werder's goals in their 3-1 win at Hoffenheim. He put the visitors back in front two minutes into time added on, converting Claudio Pizzaro's pass.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)

The Gabon international produced a pair of penalties in either half in a come-from-behind 4-2 win against Hanover which helped Dortmund keep tabs with bitter rivals Bayern Munich. The brace put him on five goals for the season, one shy of Bayern's topscorer Thomas Mueller.

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