PARIS, March 20 — African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring as a Leicester City revival continued at the weekend with a 3-2 English Premier League win at West Ham.
A return to form by the Algeria winger has coincided with the ‘Foxes’ winning four consecutive matches in all competitions since Italian manager Claudio Ranieri was controversially sacked.
Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who preceded Mahrez as African Footballer of the Year, remained the leading German Bundesliga scorer after his goal gave Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 win over Ingolstadt.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
The Algeria winger gave a strong display in Leicester’s 3-2 victory at West Ham. Having struggled for much of the season, he looks back to his best since Ranieri’s sacking. Mahrez enjoyed a stroke of luck to open the scoring in the fifth minute when his cross evaded Hammers goalkeeper Darren Randolph and crept into the net.
Andre Ayew (West Ham)
The Ghana striker scored his fifth club goal of the season, but couldn’t prevent West Ham suffering more misery at their London Stadium against Leicester. With West Ham trailing 3-1, Ayew headed in after Andy Carroll won the ball at the back post from a corner to reduce the deficit in the 63rd minute. But the Hammers couldn’t find an equaliser with Ayew guilty of firing over from one of hosts’ best opportunities.
Idrissa Gueye (Everton)
The Senegal midfielder was involved in a crucial flashpoint in his side’s 4-0 win over Hull at Goodison Park. Ronald Koeman’s team had scored once in a tense encounter when Gueye was caught by an aggressive challenge from Hull midfielder Tom Huddlestone. Although Hull felt the tackle was fair, the offence was deemed worthy of a straight red card and Everton went on to make the most of their numerical advantage.
Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough)
The Benin striker notched his first Premier League goal for Middlesbrough, but Manchester United ran out 3-1 winners at the Riverside Stadium. Gestede had only one goal in the FA Cup since joined Middlesbrough from Aston Villa in January and he ended that barren run with a cool close-range finish after Chris Smalling failed to clear in the 77th minute.
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Las Palmas)
Ghanaian Boateng was central to Las Palmas’ 1-0 win over Villarreal. The former AC Milan man powered home a header for the only goal and his eighth of the season after just 10 minutes. Boateng was pulled down by Victor Ruiz when clear on goal nine minutes later, provoking a red card for the Villarreal defender.
Lacina Traore (Sporting Gijon)
Traore gave Sporting’s chances of beating the drop a huge boast as his equaliser sparked a three-goal burst in seven minutes to beat Granada 3-1. The Ivory Coast striker tapped home his second goal in Spanish football from close range as Sporting leapfrogged Granada to move within five points of safety.
Mohamed Salah (Roma)
With Edin Dzeko on the bench for the visit of Sassuolo, Salah provided Roma’s biggest attacking threat and almost had the opener on two minutes when he hit the side-netting. After Leandro Paredes levelled Gregoire Defrel’s ninth-minute strike for the visitors, Egyptian Salah put Roma into the lead in first-half injury time when he rushed in to poke home a loose ball after Andrea Consigli had spilled Stephan El Shaarawy’s shot in the six-yard box. Roma finished 3-1 winners.
Afriyie Acquah (Torino)
For a few second-half minutes Ghanaian midfielder Acquah gave Torino fans hope of a win over Inter Milan when he beat Samir Handanovic with a superb strike. The 25-year-old’s maiden Serie A goal of the season, and fifth in Italy’s top flight, will be remembered, although it didn’t win the game for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men. Italy winger Antonio Candreva levelled for Inter only a few minutes later to grab a share of the points.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
The Gabon hot-shot scored his ninth goal in his last five games in Borussia Dortmund’s 1-0 win at home to relegation-threatened Ingolstadt. Aubameyang remains the league’s top scorer with 23 league goals, ahead of Cologne’s Anthony Modeste, who has 22, while Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski—last season’s Bundesliga hot-shot with 30 — has netted 21 times.
Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin)
The Ivory Coast veteran lasted just 30 minutes of Hertha’s 4-2 defeat at Cologne after his thigh injury, which he picked up in training last week, flared up. The 31-year-old was left limping after a challenge from Cologne defender Pawel Olkowski.
Nabil Bentaleb (Schalke 04)
The Algeria midfielder squandered a golden chance to score a late second goal for Schalke when he came off the bench for their 1-0 win at Mainz. The ex-Tottenham Hotspur player got behind the defence and went one-on-one with Mainz goalkeeper Jonas Loessl, but mistimed his shot, which was saved. — AFP