African stars scored, got red carded, were accused of penalty-area ‘theatre’ and became embroiled in a racism storm during a dramatic weekend across Europe.
Nigeria midfielder Peter Odemwingie struck a late winner for West Brom in a drop-zone showdown at Blackburn while Hoffenheim drew 1-1 with Hertha Berlin despite the dismissal of Ghana defender Isaac Vorsah.
Former Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng infuriated Siena wth a theatrical dive that earned a penalty as AC Milan won 2-0 and Morocco-born Auxerre midfielder Kamel Chafni accused an assistant referee of racism after being sent off.
PETER ODEMWINGIE (West Brom)
The Nigerian picked the perfect moment to score his first goal since October as his last-minute strike clinched a crucial 2-1 win at Blackburn.
Odemwingie had gone six games without a goal and looked like extending that barren run until the 89th minute when he made a perfectly timed run behind the defence before firing a superb shot past Paul Robinson to give Albion their first win in four matches.
KOLO and YAYA TOURE (Man City)
The Ivory Coast brothers helped Manchester City restore their two-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Eastlands.
Manchester United’s victory at QPR earlier Sunday had knocked City off top spot, but former Arsenal defender Kolo and ex-Barcelona midfielder Yaya delivered composed displays as David Silva’s second-half strike killed off the Gunners.
EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR (Tottenham)
The Togo striker could not extend his impressive recent scoring run, but Spurs still moved into third place with a 1-0 win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
Adebayor, who scored five times in his previous four appearances, was a menace to the Sunderland defence but it was substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko who scored the second-half winner.
DIDIER DROGBA (Chelsea)
The Ivory Coast striker was below his best as Chelsea’s revival ground to a halt with a disappointing 1-1 draw at struggling Wigan.
Drogba had been in superb form during Chelsea’s run of victories over Newcastle, Valencia and Manchester City, but was subdued for long periods at DW Stadium.
CHRISTOPHER SAMBA (Blackburn)
The Congo Brazzaville defender set up Blackburn’s goal against West Brom, yet they still crashed to a 2-1 home defeat.
Samba flicked on goalkeeper Paul Robinson’s long clearance for Scott Dann to bundle in the 72nd-minute equaliser.
CHEIKH M’BENGUE (Toulouse)
Senegalese left-back M’Bengue picked a good time to score only his second league goal, claiming the equaliser with a fine strike in Toulouse’s 1-1 draw at high-flying Montpellier.
The visitors were trailing when, shortly before half-time, M’Bengue intercepted a loose pass before striding forwards and bending a glorious strike around Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren.
MAX GRADEL (Saint-Etienne)
Gradel claimed his second league goal since his summer move from Leeds United to give Saint-Etienne a 2-1 win at Dijon that extended their unbeaten run to six matches.
The Ivory Coast striker’s goal arrived in the third minute of injury time and saw him curl a low shot into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the Dijon penalty area.
KAMEL CHAFNI (Auxerre)
Morocco international midfielder Chafni found himself at the centre of a racism storm after being sent off in Auxerre’s 1-0 defeat at Brest.
Chafni was dismissed in the 55th minute following an altercation with one of the assistant referees but said the official had racially abused him, prompting the Professional Football League (LFP) to open an investigation.
ISAAC VORSAH (Hoffenheim)
The Ghana defender was sent off with an hour gone of Hoffenheim’s 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin when he brought down Colombia striker Adrian Ramos with just the goalkeeper left to beat.
TAYE TAIWO (AC Milan)
The Nigerian played all of champions Milan’s 2-0 win over Siena. The defender, signed from Marseille on a free transfer, had become frustrated by his lack of chances at the San Siro. But playing at left-back, he showed great physical qualities.
KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (AC Milan)
The former Ghana midfielder won a controversial penalty that Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted after Boateng angered Siena defenders when he theatrically collapsed to the ground under a challenge from Zeljko Brkic.
SALIFU AMIDU (Fiorentina)
Just 19 and already tipped as a future star, Ghanaian Amidu started his second match and impressed in the 2-2 draw with Atalanta, especially in his link-up play with Stevan Jovetic, one of the team’s scorers.
ODION IGHALO (Granada)
Nigerian striker Ighalo, on loan from Italian side Udinese, played in Granada’s 2-1 victory over Levante. Ighalo was dangerous throughout and prominent in Granada’s second goal, hitting the post with his right foot on the stroke of half-time and Abel Gomez followed up to give the home side a two-goal lead.
AROUNA KONE (Levante)
Ivorian striker Kone pulled a goal back for Levante in the second half with a near-post header from a corner — his sixth goal of the season.
IBRAHIMA BLADE (Osasuna)
Senegalese striker Blade scored in Osasuna’s 2-1 home win over Villarreal, reacting quickest to a centre on the 74th minute and equalising. Balde has now scored five league goals for his new club since switching from Atletico Madrid.