African players week in Europe: Senegal strikers back with a bang in Europe

AFP, Monday 6 Feb 2012

Senegal strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse put a disastrous 2012 Africa Cup of Nations behind them by scoring the weekend goals that kept Newcastle United on track for a UEFA Champions League place

Demba Ba
Newcastle United's Papiss Demba Cisse, left, and Demba Ba, right, are seen together during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at the Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Ba put the Magpies ahead against Aston Villa at St James Park and new signing Cisse struck the second-half winner for a dream debut after his mid-season move from German club Freiburg.

Rated the biggest threat to co-favourites Ivory Coast and Ghana before the Cup of Nations kicked off, Senegal made a humiliating early exit after defeats by Zambia, co-hosts Equatorial Guinea and Libya.




The Senegal striker celebrated his debut in spectacular fashion with the winner in his side's 2-1 victory against Aston Villa at St James' Park. Cisse, a £10 million signing from German club Freiburg in January, was returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty for his first appearance for the Magpies. He came on as a substitute for the injured Leon Best and hit the winner with a blistering strike in the 71st minute.


DEMBA BA (Newcastle)

The Senegal striker marked his return from Cup of Nations Cup duty with a clinical finish in the win over Villa. Ba was free to return to Premier League action after Senegal's earlier than expected exit from the African tournament and he made up for lost time with his 16th goal of the season—a close-range finish after Ryan Taylor's shot was blocked into his path in the 30th minute.



The Ghana midfielder made his first start of the season in a dramatic 3-3 draw against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Essien had made four substitute appearances in January as he worked his way back to full match fitness after missing the first half of the season with a serious knee injury. He was finally ready to start against United and played for 90 minutes. However, Chelsea blew a three-goal lead in the second half to ruin his day.



The Nigeria defender couldn't stop his new club crashing to a 2-1 defeat against fellow strugglers Wolves. Taiwo, who joined Mark Hughes' team on loan from AC Milan until the end of the season, made his debut for the west London club in a midweek draw at Aston Villa and is still waiting for his first win after Wolves came from a goal down to triumph at Loftus Road.



The South Africa midfielder made his second debut for Everton following his loan move from Tottenham as the Toffees salvaged a 1-1 draw at Wigan. After a frustrating spell at Tottenham, Pienaar has returned to Goodison Park until the end of the season and he played the full 90 minutes in his first start in the Premier League since May. Everton came away with a point thanks to a 83rd-minute equaliser from Nigerian Victor Anichebe.





The Senegalese defender resumed with Marseille after his country slumped out of the Africa Cup of Nations with no points from three games. Playing against Lyon, Diawara started well as his side went 2-0 up, but struggled to contain Bafetimbi Gomis and his own goal on the stroke of half-time levelled the scores. He was substituted after 69 minutes.



Back from Africa Cup of Nations duty with Burkina Faso, central defender Kone struggled at first for Lyon as Marseille went 2-0 up. But he steadied himself in the second half and was in command as Lyon hit back to grab a merited draw.





The Democratic Republic of Congo midfielder scored Freiburg's opening goal in their 2-2 draw with Werder Bremen as his team stayed bottom of the German league, but just three points separate the Bundesliga's last four teams. Freiburg captain Makiadi led from the front as his team came from behind twice with Frenchman Jonathan Schmid scoring a 70th-minute equaliser to claim a point after Peru striker Claudio Pizarro had scored twice for Bremen.


CHINEDU OBASI (Schalke 04) & MOHAMED ZIDAN (Mainz 05)

Egypt striker Zidan, who signed from Dortmund during January's transfer window, scored after just 15 minutes on his Mainz debut in his new team's 1-1 draw with Schalke.

Nigeria striker Obasi, who is on loan from Hoffenheim until the end of the season, netted the 59th-minute equaliser to score his first goal for the Royal Blues, while the point leaves Schalke third in the German league.





It was a miserable return to Serie A action for the Moroccan centre-back as Udinese lost 3-2 at Fiorentina. The northerners had missed Benatia during his Africa Cup of Nations absence, but having given away two penalties they may well have wished the north Africans were still in that tournament. Benatia handled a cross into the box and Stevan Jovetic despatched the resulting penalty five minutes before half-time. Benatia gave away another spot-kick, although it appeared dubious, for bringing down Jovetic, who also converted it, in the second half.




Ivorian striker Kone added his seventh league goals of the season as Levante drew 1-1 at home to Racing Santander. Kone played the full game and his team remain fourth in La Liga and on course for a surprise Champions League place next season.



Moroccan international and ex-Liverpool midfielder El Zhar also played the full 90 minutes for Levante, making his 12th league appearance for the club since his arrival last summer.



Algerian striker Ghezzal came off the bench for Levante in the same game to make his debut, completing the last 17 minutes after his recent loan move to the Valencia club from Bari of Serie A. He has previously been on loan this season with another Italian Serie A club, Cesena.



Experienced former Mali striker Kanoute was recalled to Sevilla's team for their 2-1 home defeat by Villarreal. Kanoute has scored only three league goals all season and has not featured as much as he would have liked amid rumours of disagreements with coach Marcelino Garcia.

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