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African All Stars

Championship Wrap: Solanke, Balogun score as Bassi bags assist

5:59 PM GMT+8 16/03/2022
Folarin Balogun
The Anglo-Nigerians were on song in the English second-tier as African stars suffered contrasting fortunes on Tuesday night

Dominic Solanke was on target again as Bournemouth settled for a 1-1 draw with Reading in a Championship fixture.

The forward, 24, who remains eligible to represent Nigeria at international level had found the net on Saturday as the Cherries silenced Wayne Rooney's Derby County.

Against the Royals, Solanke also registered his name on the scorer’s sheet but it could not fetch Scott Parker’s side all the points.

With just eight minutes into the game, he side-footed the ball past goalkeeper Oerjan Haaskjold Nyland after a superb exchange of passes with goalkeeper Jefferson Lerma. 

Mark Travers was then called upon to make a vital block from Lucas Joao after the Royals frontman had stretched to meet Tom Ince’s centre.

Nevertheless, the visitors clawed their way back to ensure that the match ended on a no winner, no vanquished note after Ince found the net with seven minutes left on the clock.

Solanke - who now boasts 23 goals in the 2021-22 campaign - was on parade from start to finish as well as Zimbabwe international Jordan Zemura.

On the other side, Nigeria prospect Ovie Ejaria was subbed off for Junior Hoilett in the 90th minute, while Cote d'Ivoire's Yakou Meite was introduced for Lucas Joao with 75 minutes left to play.

At Oakwell, former Morocco youth international Amine Bassi contributed an assist as Barnsley defeated Bristol City 2-0.

Unbeaten in their last two matches, the Tykes hosted Nigel Pearson’s side who are still fresh from their 1-0 away triumph over Blackburn Rovers last time out.

Nine minutes into the fixture, Carlton Morris put the hosts ahead by turning Matty Wolfe’s assist past goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.

Poya Asbaghi’s men doubled their advantage 10 minutes later when Bassi’s corner was headed home at the near post by Michal Helik.

The second 45 minutes produced no goals as Barnsley sealed all points to boost their chances of survival. 

Elsewhere, Folarin Balogun was among the goalscorers as Middlesbrough defeated Birmingham City 2-0 away from home. 

Boro, who are eyeing promotion to the Premier League got off to a flying start at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium as they dominated ball possession.

Nonetheless, it was the home side who had the first real opportunity when Taylor Richards had an effort blocked by Dael Fry.

Middlesbrough’s breakthrough came in the 23rd minute as Aaron Connolly powered Anfernee Dijksteel’s assist past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge. 

The Blues tried everything possible to restore parity, but it met strong resistance from the well-organised visitors.

In the second half, the game was settled by Balogun’s 62nd-minute beauty. Jonny Howson was the architect, and Marcus Tavernier provided the final pass for the Arsenal loanee to curl past Etheridge.