African players in Europe: FA Cup success for Nigeria’s Isaac Success

Nigerian Isaac Success was the happiest African footballer in England at the weekend as he scored the goal that ensured Watford a place in the FA Cup last 16.

Isaac Success

The 23-year-old, who has been capped by his country at age-limit and senior levels, netted in the 90th minute to seal a 2-0 win at fellow Premier League outfit Newcastle United.

On the continent, there were braces for Moroccan Youssef en-Nesyri in La Liga and France-born Ivorian international Nicolas Pepe in Ligue 1.


The Nigerian forward lived up to his name in appropriate fashion when he sealed the Hornets’ 2-0 victory away to Newcastle with a close-range finish at St James’ Park.


He gave the Gunners hope of a comeback when, with his side 2-0 down against Manchester United just after the half-hour mark, he turned in an Aaron Ramsey cross after Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira failed to apply a finishing touch. Unfortunately for the Gabon star, Anthony Martial’s late goal saw United to a 3-1 win.


En-Nesyri led a Leganes comeback as he scored twice in a 2-2 draw at home to Eibar. Leganes trailed 2-0 but the Moroccan weaved in from the right and drilled into the bottom corner before rising to head in a second and salvage a valuable point in his team’s struggle against relegation.

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Senegalese forward Babacar converted a penalty for Sassuolo’s second goal in a 3-0 win over Cagliari days after Ghanaian forward Kevin-Prince Boateng left for Barcelona. Ghanaian midfielder Duncan set up Alessandro Matri to tap in the third three minutes from time as 11th-place Sassuolo earned their first home win in four months.


Napoli defender Koulibaly returned from the two-match ban he received a month ago after being targeted by racist chanting by Inter Milan fans at the same San Siro stadium. But Carlo Ancelotti’s side had to settle for a point in a goalless draw against AC Milan to fall 11 points behind leaders Juventus.

ACHRAF HAKIMI (Borussia Dortmund)

The Morocco international was outstanding at left-back in a 5-1 mauling of strugglers Hanover with a goal and assist for league leaders Borussia Dortmund. The 20-year-old, who is on loan from Real Madrid, curled in Dortmund’s opening goal midway through the first half, then robbed Hanover defender Miiko Albornoz in the Hanover area and squared for captain Marco Reus to score the second, which opened the floodgates as the hosts hit three goals in seven minutes.


The French-born Ivory Coast international forward continues to enjoy a fantastic season with high-flying Lille. He scored a brace in a 2-1 win at Marseille in a game that was held up for more than 30 minutes in the second half after a firecracker thrown from the stands exploded beside home midfielder Kevin Strootman. Pepe has 15 goals for the campaign, and Lille are still second behind Paris Saint-Germain.


Tunisian international Sliti scored a hat-trick as Dijon romped to a 6-3 win at Saint-Etienne in the French Cup in midweek and followed that with another goal as his side beat crisis-club Monaco 2-0 in a key relegation battle on Saturday.


Ivory Coast international Gradel had scored two spot-kicks in a French Cup win over Reims in midweek, including once in a penalty shoot-out after a 4-4 draw. But on Sunday he had a spot-kick saved in a 0-0 draw with Angers, for whom Cameroon international Stephane Bahoken also missed a penalty.