Review African players in Europe, Mahrez’s penalty

Algerian Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty at Liverpool deprived Manchester City of the chance to go clear at the top of the Premier League Sunday, leading pundits to question why he took the spot kick.

Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez appeared to wave away Gabriel Jesus when the Brazilian tried to take the penalty, only to balloon the ball over the bar, meaning he has now fluffed five of the eight Premier League spot kicks he has taken.

“Given the poor penalty-taking record of Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus should have taken the kick,” former Chelsea and Aston Villa player Andy Townsend said after the 0-0 deadlock.

The miss meant reigning champions City only lead Chelsea and Liverpool on goal difference.



The Senegal midfielder proved too much for Manchester United’s Eric Bailly at set-pieces as Newcastle took a shock 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes at Old Trafford. But Jose Mourinho took Bailly off after 19 minutes and replaced him with Juan Mata, who scored the first of three goals in the closing 20 minutes as the hosts completed a dramatic 3-2 win.


He set the seal on the Gunners’ 5-1 win at London rivals Fulham with the visitors’ closing two goals. The Gabon forward came off the bench for the final half hour and provided the cross for fellow substitute Aaron Ramsey to backheel in Arsenal’s third goal. He then scored twice, deftly converting Hector Bellerin’s cross before smashing home following a pass by Ramsey for his sixth goal this season.

RIYAD MAHREZ (Manchester City)

He missed a gilt-edged chance to give City victory in a goalless draw away to title rivals Liverpool when, after Leroy Sane was brought down in the box with five minutes left at Anfield, he sent the ensuing penalty high over the crossbar. City’s regular spot-kick taker Sergio Aguero had already been substituted.



Scored his third goal of the season, but it was not enough to save Villarreal from a 3-1 defeat by Espanyol in La Liga. The Cameroon forward equalised on the stroke of half-time, turning in the rebound after Ramiro Funes Mori’s shot was saved, but Espanyol scored twice more in the second half. It was Ekambi’s third goal in four games.



Algerian international winger Ounas scored his first goal in the Italian top flight to keep Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli second in Serie A. Ounas struck after just three minutes in a 2-0 win over Sassuolo in Naples. It was Ounas’s first league goal since arriving from Bordeaux in July 2017. Senegal defender Koulibaly played the entire game but Ounas and Guinean midfielder Amadou Diawara were substituted in the second half.


Sassuolo’s top scorer Boateng suffered a shutout as the club fell to back-to-back defeats for the first time this season. The Germany-born Ghana forward — who has scored three goals this season since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt — was substituted by Senegalese striker Babacar after 69 minutes.


A slip-up by Ivorian Kessie allowed lowly Chievo pull a goal back but Gennaro Gattuso’s side nevertheless extended their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions with a 3-1 win at the San Siro. Milan were three goals up, but failed to keep their first Serie A clean sheet of the season when Kessie lost concentration and the ball and veteran Sergio Pellissier pounced to score.



Togolese striker Bebou scored Hanover’s last goal in their 3-1 win over Stuttgart, putting the game beyond doubt for the home side. Bebou threaded his shot through the legs of Stuttgart goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler in the 91st minute.


Algerian striker Belfodil had a chance to equalise in injury time in Hoffenheim’s clash with Eintracht Frankfurt, only for his powerful header to be blocked by a reflex save from Kevin Trapp. Hoffenheim lost 2-1 despite facing 10 men for the final 30 minutes.


It was an unlucky weekend for Algerians in front of goal in the Bundesliga, with Schalke midfielder Bentaleb’s excellent effort denied by a superb save from Fortuna Duesseldorf goalkeeper Michael Rensing. Fortunately for Schalke, they ran out 2-0 winners.



The 22-year-old Guinean international continued his red-hot start to the Ligue 1 season by scoring twice in Bordeaux’s 3-0 victory over Nantes. Kamano took advantage of some awful defending to fire into the roof of the net in the seventh minute and put Bordeaux two goals ahead, before adding a penalty on the stroke of half-time to take his league tally to seven goals in nine games this term.

LEBO MOTHIBA (Strasbourg)

The South Africa striker scored twice to help Strasbourg secure a 2-2 draw at Angers. The 22-year-old from Johannesburg has netted four times for Strasbourg despite only starting three games since joining the club from Lille in August.