As a part of a new weekly series, we take a look at the African players that lit up the top European leagues this weekend.
Sadio Mane – Senegal and Liverpool
Liverpool started their campaign in blistering fashion with a 4-0 thumping of West Ham at Anfield on Sunday. Key to their success was Senegalese winger, Sadio Mane. Starting on the left of Liverpool’s potent attacking three, Mane scored twice to ensure Jurgen Klopp’s side ended the opening weekend top of the league. Can the man from Sédhiou follow in the footsteps of teammate Mohamed Salah and have a stellar goal scoring season?
Naby Keita – Guinea and Liverpool
Another African in Liverpool’s ranks, Naby Keita finally played for the Reds after originally agreeing to join them back in January. The Guinean started in the centre of the park and looked more than comfortable on his Premier League debut. Wearing Steven Gerrard’s number 8, Keita got up and down the pitch and showed some silky skills in an around the box. It looks as though the Conakry born maestro will play a bigger role in the final third than the current central players at Anfield.
Vincent Aboubakar – Cameroon and Porto
Cameroonian centre forward Vincent Aboubakar has never seemed totally settled at Porto. He spent the 2016/17 season on loan at Besiktas and has been linked with moves away from the Estádio do Dragão. However, the powerhouse was on fine form this weekend as the Portuguese champions blew Chaves out of the water with a 5-0 win. In the first half he scored twice and assisted once. It could be a great season for him this year.
Nicolas Pepe – Ivory Coast and Lille
Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe had a blistering start to the Ligue 1 season, with a goal and an assist in Lille’s 3-1 win over Rennes. Pepe scored Lille’s second goal to put them in the lead for the first time in the match, with a neat finish into the bottom corner after being heavily involved in the build-up. He then showed composure to pass to Jonathan Bamba in the 68th minute to give Lille a cushion and all three points.
Nuno Da Costa – Cape Verde and Strasbourg
Staying in France and it was a big opening win for Strasbourg who defeated Bordeaux 2-0 away from home. Although he did not start, Nuno Da Costa played an important part in the victory, as he tapped home Strasbourg’s second to ensure the three points. Bordeaux were heavy favourites before the match, so for the away side to come away with the win was an upset.