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Review of Africans abroad
Different African stars were in action across the weekend in different leagues and domestic cup competitions and some, unfortunately, found themselves writing unwanted history.
Too Good: Riyad Mahrez
The Algerian international was in fine form to score two goals as Manchester City defeated Fulham 4-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
After going down to a fourth-minute goal, the Citizens turned the game in their favour with goals from Ilkay Gundogan who was teed up by Mahrez, before defender John Stones headed in for a 2-1 lead at the half-time break.
Mahrez then popped up with a double, the first from the penalty spot before another cool finish took his tally to 15 for the season in all competitions. On the Premier League front, he has managed six goals from 16 appearances after raking in 841 minutes of action.
Too Bad: Kelechi Iheanacho
After returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon where Nigeria were eliminated in the Round of 16, Iheanacho failed to inspire Leicester City as they suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup fourth round fixture on Sunday.
The 25-year-old was handed a start by Brendan Rodgers alongside his compatriot Wilfred Ndidi and Ghana defender Daniel Amartey but the Foxes found themselves trailing 3-0 in the opening 30 minutes of the game at City Ground.
Though Iheanacho pulled a goal back to make it 3-1, his first goal since last December, it was not enough as Forest scored the fourth in the second half to seal their place in the fifth round of the domestic competition.
Too Good: Fashion Sakala
The 24-year-old Zambia international came off the bench to score as Rangers cruised to a 5-0 victory against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership at Ibrox Stadium on Sunday.
Alfredo Morelos scored the opener for the Gers and then doubled the lead; Glen Kamara added the third before Scott Arfield made it 4-0. Sakala, who joined Rangers from Belgian side K.V. Oostende at the start of the season, was then introduced in the 76th minute for Nigerian Joe Aribo.
It took Sakala only eight minutes to find the back of the net, after finishing off a cross from new signing Aaron Ramsey, to take his tally of goals to six from 19 appearances.
Too Bad: Maduka Okoye
Nigeria goalkeeper Maduka Okoye conceded four goals as Sparta Rotterdam suffered a humiliating 4-0 Eredivisie defeat against Feyenoord at De Kuip Stadium on Sunday.
The 22-year-old was making a return to the Castle Lords’ starting XI after arriving from the Afcon tournament in Cameroon where Nigeria failed to go past the Round of 16, and he conceded the first goal with only four minutes played courtesy of Orkun Kokcu.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh then doubled Feyenoord’s lead; Guus Til made it 3-0 before he rounded up the huge win with a double. The defeat left Okoye’s Sparta in position 17 of the 18-team table with 14 points from 21 matches.
Too Good: Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen was on target as Italian giants Napoli overcame 10-man Venezia 2-0 in Sunday’s Serie A encounter at Pier Luigi Penzo Stadium.
The 23-year-old Nigeria international was forced to wait until the 59th minute to put the Parthenopeans ahead after heading a cross from Matteo Politano before Andrea Petagna made it 2-0 for the vital points.
Osimhen’s goal came after 112 days, the last time he scored was in the 1-0 win against Torino at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on October 17, 2021. He has now scored six top-flight goals from 14 appearances.
- (C)Getty Images
Too Bad: Yves Bissouma
The Mali international was on the losing end as Brighton and Hove Albion suffered a 3-1 defeat against Tottenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday.
The 25-year-old was making his first appearance for the Seagulls since returning from the Afcon in Cameroon and he could not help his side advance to the next round as they were trailing 2-0 at half-time courtesy of goals from Harry Kane and Solly March’s own goal.
Though Bissouma pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute, it was not enough as Kane scored yet again to end Brighton’s journey in the domestic competition.
Too Good: Michael Olunga
Kenya captain Michael Olunga continued with his goal-scoring form after notching a brace as Al-Duhail SC secured a 4-0 win over Al Rayyan in a Qatar Stars League fixture at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Saturday.
It was Nam Tae-hee who put Duhail ahead before the lanky Harambee Star hit the back of the net for a 2-0 half-time lead. Olunga then added the third and set up Mohammed Musa for the fourth to help the Red Knights bounce back to winning ways having lost 4-0 to Al-Wakrah in their last league assignment.
The 27-year-old has now scored 19 top-flight goals so far in this season after managing 15 appearances and raking in 1240 minutes of play.
- Goal Kenya.
Too Bad: Bevis Mugabi
Bevis Mugabi was on the receiving end as Motherwell suffered a 4-0 defeat against Celtic in a Scottish Premiership fixture at Fir Park on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Ugandan international could not help The Well from the humiliating defeat as they conceded three goals in the first half courtesy of Liel Abada, and Tom Rogic, who scored a double.
Mugubi’s day at work got even worse in the 65th minute when he was yellow-carded for a clumsy foul before Daizen Maeda riffled home the fourth goal for the Hoops to complete the demolition.
Too Good: Odion Ighalo
The former Manchester United and Watford striker scored his debut goal for Al Hilal as they cruised to a 6-1 victory over Al Jazira in a Fifa Club World Cup match on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Nigeria international joined the defending AFC Champions League winners on an 18-month deal from Saudi Arabian rivals Al Shabab on January 29, and he featured in the game at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium where he opened his goal account in the 36th minute.
Al Hilal’s other goals came from Matheus Pereira, Mohamed Kanno, Salem Al-Dawsari, Moussa Marega, and Andre Carrillo. Ighalo’s Al Hilal will now face European champions, Chelsea, in the semi-final of the Fifa Club World Cup on February 9.