Soccer-African players in Europe
LONDON, April 30 |
LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) - Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o scored his ninth goal of an injury-hampered season on Sunday which could prove to be one of his most important.
Eto'o's goal carried defending champions Barcelona to a 1-0 home victory over Levante and kept them on track to retain the Primera Liga title.
On a weekend when PSV Eindhoven secured the Dutch title, African players once again made crucial contributions in the top European leagues. Eto'o's strike was one of the most telling.
Barca were made to work hard for their victory as Levante's Spanish goalkeeper Jose Molina produced a string of superb saves to frustrate them in the early stages and then keep the game on a knife-edge.
But in the 28th minute Molina could only parry a volley from Barca's Spanish international midfielder Xavi Hernandez and Eto'o clinically converted the rebound from the edge of the box.
Barcelona remained a point clear of Sevilla, who won 3-1 at home to Espanyol.
Sevilla's Frederic Kanoute, the Primera Liga's joint leading scorer, once again spent the whole game on the substitute's bench.
Manager Juande Ramos rested the Malian striker, who has a troublesome groin injury, as Sevilla prepare to overcome a 1-0 first-leg deficit in their UEFA Cup semi-final on Thursday against fellow-Spaniards Osasuna.
A goal and a major assist from Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou was not enough to prevent champions Chelsea dropping two precious points in a 2-2 home draw with Bolton Wanderers.
Slovakian centre-back Lubomir Michalik opened the scoring after 19 minutes on his full debut for Bolton, but Kalou equalised three minutes later confidently meeting a cross from Wayne Bridge with a glancing downwards header.
Then after 34 minutes, more good work from Kalou led to Chelsea's second. Frank Lampard delivered a corner and Kalou's powerful header crashed against the underside of the bar before hitting Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and crossing the line.
Chelsea, however, could not hold on and Bolton's English striker Kevin Davies struck a 54th minute equaliser.
The result seriously damaged Chelsea's prospects of claiming a third consecutive title as Manchester United's 4-2 win at Everton lifted them five points clear at the top with three games remaining.
On Sunday, a goal from Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor helped Arsenal to a 3-1 home win over relegation-threatened Fulham.
Adebayor created the opening goal of the game, crossing for Brazilian striker Julio Baptista to head home after four minutes.
In the 84th minute, Adebayor grabbed a goal for himself, cutting inside from the left to dispatch a right-foot shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-1 after Fulham had equalised.
Baptista's international team mate Gilberto Silva added a third for Arsenal with a late penalty.
Zimbabwean striker Benjani Mwaruwari scored a first half goal for Portsmouth as they won 2-1 at home to Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool.
On the final day of the Dutch Championship, Ivorian forward Sekou Cisse scored one of Roda JC Kerkrade's goals in their comprehensive 7-0 rout at home to Heracles Almelo.
The result helped Roda finish fifth in the league and qualify for next season's UEFA Cup.
On a dramatic final day, PSV Eindhoven's 5-1 victory over Vitesse Arnhem helped them win the title by a single goal after finishing level on points with their great rivals Ajax Amsterdam.
Goals from Egyptian midfielder Ahmed Hassan and Congolese forward Dieumerci Mbokani Bezua helped Anderlecht close in on the title with a 5-0 win at SV Roeselare.
Belgian Jonathan Legear scored either side of Hassan's 20th minute goal and Bezua completed the scoring after Argentine forward Nicolas Frutos had notched the fourth.
Anderlecht moved two points ahead of closest rivals Racing Genk with three games remaining.
Girondins Bordeaux prolonged their strong Ligue 1 run by beating Racing Lens 1-0 on Sunday.
Bordeaux moved to second place despite playing most of the match with 10 men after Tunisian defender David Jemmali was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Lens's Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane seven minutes before halftime.
Brazilian forward Jussie scored the winner after 13 minutes.
Sedan look set for relegation after losing 3-2 at Troyes despite a goal from Cameroon international Joseph Desire Job.
Sedan were not helped by Senegalese midfielder Aliou Cisse being sent off after 51 minutes. They are now seven points from safety with just four fixtures left.
Nigerian striker John Utaka scored in Stade Rennes 2-0 win at Nantes, the victory kept Utaka's team in sixth place one point behind Toulouse who went down 3-1 at home to Paris St Germain despite a goal from Guinean Fode Mansare.
Both teams are in position to qualify for UEFA Cup places next season.
A goal from Egyptian striker Mohamed Zidan could not prevent his club Mainz losing 2-1 at Hanover 96.
The result left second-bottom Mainz three points away from safety in the Bundesliga with three games to play.
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this