African players in Europe: Zaha relegates former boss Hodgson

AFP , Monday 9 May 2022

Ivory Coast star Wilfried Zaha condemned his former boss, Roy Hodgson, to relegation from the Premier League after converting a penalty to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 win over Watford at the weekend.

Crystal Palace s Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring their side s second goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match against Southampton at St Mary s Stadium, Southampton, England, Saturday, April 30, 2022. AP

Hodgson retired as Palace manager at the end of last season, leaving Zaha and his teammates under the guidance of Patrick Vieira, a 1998 World Cup winner with France.

Desperate to avoid relegation, Watford brought former England manager Hodgson out of retirement in the middle of this season, but the 74-year-old could not save the Hornets from the drop.

Here, AFP Sport highlights some of the African performers in European leagues at the weekend:


Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Zaha netted his 14th goal of the season with a clinical spot-kick in the 31st minute. It was a moment of revenge for Zaha, who was infamously mocked by Watford's mascot, Harry the Hornet, who threw himself to the ground in front of the player after he allegedly dived during a meeting between the clubs in 2018.

Said Benrahma (West Ham)

The Algeria winger struck twice as his side thrashed relegated Norwich 4-0 to ease the pain of their midweek Europa League semi-finals exit by Eintracht Frankfurt. Benrahma opened the scoring with a 12th-minute shot that deflected off Max Aaron and squirmed past goalkeeper Tim Krul. After scoring only his second goal since December, he followed up with another on the stroke of half-time to put the Hammers three goals ahead.


Ansu Fati (Barcelona)

The 19-year-old from Guinea-Bissau came off the bench to open the scoring on 76 minutes for Barcelona in a 2-1 win at Real Betis that assured the Catalans of a top-four finish in La Liga and Champions League football next season. It was the first league goal for the teenager since November as he continues to recover from a lengthy injury-induced spell on the sidelines.


Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer (AC Milan)

Ivorian Franck Kessie started and Algerian Ismael Bennacer came off the bench as leaders AC Milan triumphed 3-1 at Verona to retain a two-point Serie A advantage over neighbours Inter Milan with two rounds remaining. Bennacer was voted the best player at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which Algeria won in Egypt.


Taiwo awoniyi (Union Berlin)

The Nigerian set up teammate Sheraldo Becker for Union's third goal as they cruised to a 4-1 win at Freiburg to secure European football for the second successive season. Awoniyi's neat one-two with Becker allowed the latter to break free on the right wing just before half-time and slot the ball past Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

Omar Marmoush (Stuttgart)

The Egyptian missed an early chance to give his side the lead on the counter-attack as third-from-bottom Stuttgart gave themselves fresh hope in the relegation fight with a 2-2 draw at champions Bayern Munich.


Bamba dieng (Marseille)

The Senegal international scored Marseille's 39th-minute opening goal in a 3-0 win at Lorient that helped apply balm to the wound of being denied a place in the Europa Conference League final by Feyenoord earlier in the week. Marseille moved three points clear of Monaco into second place behind already-crowned champions Paris Saint-Germain and are on course to secure one of the two automatic Champions League group spots available from Ligue 1.

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