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Too Good, Too Bad: How African stars performed in Europe last weekend

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There is excitement in the air as the new football season kicked off in most countries over the weekend following three months of hiatus.

While the Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga is yet to come on stream, the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, the French Ligue, the Belgium Jupiler League and the Turkish Süper Lig more than served the excitement fans were waiting patiently for.

African players were in action in some of the leagues and while some stood out and contributed to their team’s success, some could not hold the can as they failed to live up to the expectations.

AfricaNewsWatch X-rays some African stars and their performances for their clubs across Europe in the last weekend.

Too Good

Sadio Mane (Senegal/Bayern Munich)

The Senegalese AFCON winner announced his return to the Bundesliga in style as he opened his goal account with a debut goal for perennial champions, Bayern Munich, in their 6-1 thumping of 6-1 win Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern were already 2-0 up when Mane jumped highest to nod home a cross from former Arsenal winger, Serge Gnabry at the Deutsche Bank Park.

Sadio Mane is doing great things already for Bayern Munich (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sadio Mane is doing great things already for Bayern Munich (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The 30-year-old Lion of Teranga vice captain would go on to make a meaningful impact in the match with his hold up play and overall contribution.

Henry Onyekuru (Nigeria/Adana Demirspor)

Nigeria and Super Eagle star, Henry Onyekwuru is slowly carving a niche for himself as a journey man as he started another loan spell with Adana Demirspor in the Turkish Süper Lig on a high.

Onyekwuru who was in action for the whole duration of the match against Giresunspor on Sunday, got a well deserved goal in the 82nd minute as Demirspor ran out 3-2 winners in the pulsating game.

Onyekuru’s goal had levelled the scores at 2-2 before Rahmetullah Berisbek scored the winner as the Blue Lightnings kicked off their season on a positive note at Cotanak Sports Complex.

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco/PSG)

The Morocco international picked up where he left off last season with a goal and an assist as Paris Saint Germain kicked off their 2022/2023 Ligue 1 crown with a 5-0 walloping of Clermont Foot.

Achraf Hakimi picked up where he left off for PSG (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Achraf Hakimi picked up where he left off for PSG (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The former Inter Milan defender got PSG’s second goal and went on to contribute massively for the team’s victory.

Joseph Paintsil (Ghana/KRC Genk)

Ghana international, Joseph Paintsil, was in scintillating form for KRC Genk in the Belgian Jupiler League and capped it with two goal as his team beat Eupen 4-2 win at the Cegeka Arena on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Black Star got the first goal for Genk in the 3rd minute and doubled the lead in the 9th before two goals by Patrik Hrosovsky and Mike Tresor Ndayishimiye sealed the team’s second victory of the season to take them to second position on the log after three rounds of matches.

Too Bad

Joe Aribo (Nigeria/Southampton)

Nigerian midfielder, Joe Aribo would have wished for a better debut in the English Premier League when Southampton had the misfortune of facing Tottenham Hotspur in their first match of the season.

The Nigeria international who wa given his first competitive debut by coach Ralph Hasenhuttl had only one shot on target in the 73rd as the Saints suffered 4-1 thumping.

Joe Aribo had s debut to forget (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Joe Aribo had s debut to forget (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Aribo, who moved to Southampton from Scottish giants Rangers, could not exert any influence the team which also had Ghana defender, Mohammed Salisu, score an own goal to underscore the pressure they faced against Tottenham.

Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria/Nottingham Forest)

If the Nigeria international striker had been expecting a dream debut in the EPL, it was quite the opposite as he endured a frustrating afternoon on his Nottingham Forest suffered a 2-0 defeat against Newcastle United on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Awoniyi who had a spectacular last season with Union Berlin in the Bundesliga with 15 goals, was brought on for Sam Surridge three minutes after the hour mark, but could not make any impact as the Reds lost courtesy of goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson.

Wilfried Zaha (IvoryCoast/Crystal Palace), Jordan Ayew (Ghana/Crystal Palace)

The duo of Ivory Coast winger, Wilfried Zaha, and Ghanaian forward, Jordan Ayew, were on the losing side as Crystal Palace lost their league opener 2-0 against in form Arsenal at Selhurst Park on Friday.

A goal in each half from Gabriel Martinelli and an own goal by Marc Guehi late in the match condemned Palace to their first defeat of the season.

Wilfred Zaha had a bad opening EPL day (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Wilfred Zaha had a bad opening EPL day (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Nigerian eligible player, Eberechi Eze and Mali international, Cheick Doucoure, were also part of the Palace squad, while Arsenal duo of Mohamed Elneny and Nicholas Pepe were unused substitutes.

Sports

Jose Mourinho extols Nigerian forward, Victor Osimhen, after wonder goal

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Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has heaped praises on Nigerian forward, Victor Osimhen, after the striker scored a wonder goal which can potentially compete for the goal of the season in the Italian Serie A.

The former Chelsea boss said Osimhen, who is a target of one of his former clubs, Manchester United, can compare favourably with former Ivorian striker, Didier Drogba who terrorised defences in the English Premier League.

However, Mourinho said the only hindrance to the Napoli striker reaching legendary status is if he desists from “diving” to gain favours from referees.

“He is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive,” Mourinho told reporters after the game when asked to access the Super Eagles forward’s performance.

“If Victor changes, then OK. I’d buy him if I was at a club with a lot of money.”

“However, if he does go to England one day, he needs to change, because in Italy they put up with this sort of behaviour, whereas in the Premier League, they’d come down hard on him.”

“I told him that he scored a wonderful goal and needs to stop diving so much. His goal was fantastic, he did the same thing when we met earlier this season, so he’s a fantastic player. But he mustn’t dive,” the Portuguese coach said.

The red hot Osimhen, has scored 14 goals in 16 league matches, propelling Napoli to a healthy 13 point lead at the top of thr Serie A.

Watch Osimhen’s wonder goal against Roma here:

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Sports

CHAN 2023: Niger, Madagascar make history, beat Ghana, Mozambique, to reach semi-finals

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It was a night of shocks and history on Saturday at the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria when one of the tournament’s favourites, Ghana, was knocked out by outsiders, Niger Republic in a 2-0 defeat which saw the Nigeriens qualify for the semi-finals.

As if the shock was not enough, first-time qualifiers, Madagascar, thumped Mozambique 3-1 to also qualify for the semi-final in some style.

While Madagascar was dealing with Mozambique in Constantine, Niger shocked two-time runners-up, Ghana, in Oran to complete the last-four line-up alongside host, Algeria and Senegal.

Niger’s reward is a date with Algeria while Madagascar will square up against Senegal, both on Tuesday.

Though Algeria and Senegal are outright favourites to win the tournament meant for African footballers playing in their country of birth, pundits believe underating the so called minnows could spell doom as Ghana, Cameroon, DR Congo and other top playing nations found out the hard way.

Madagascar had earlier shocked Ghana and hammered Sudan to win Group C, while Niger had pulled up the shock of the group stages by sending Cameroon packing with a 1-0 victory in their last group D match.

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