African players on the front line

Sadio Mané (center), during the UEFA Champions League Group D first leg match between Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool FC at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam on October 21, 2020.

Great start to the Champions League for African players. If the Senegalese Sadio Mané and the Egyptian Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) are squarely in contention for the conquest of the title, the Algerian Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), the Cameroonians Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern Munich) and André Onana (Ajax Amsterdam) or Senegalese Idrissa Gueye (Paris-Saint-Germain) can also claim it. not to mention that a few other sub-Saharan or Maghrebian players could also score this season in their own way.

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A bit like what the attacking duo of FC Bruges (Belgium) made up of Senegalese Krépin Diatta and Nigerian Emmanuel Dennis have just started to do. The second scored one of his team’s two goals on Tuesday in St. Petersburg (2-1). International for only thirteen months, the Nigerian arrived in 2016 in Zorya Lugansk (Ukraine) and has been playing in Bruges for three years.

Today, he is worth 20 million euros and his performances have piqued the interest of English clubs including West Bromwich Albion. It must be said that, during the previous edition of the Champions League, he scored four times, including a successful double in Madrid against Real Zinedine Zidane (2-2).

Best young player of the CAN

As for Krépin Diatta, two years his youngest (21 years), he became one of the managerial players of the Bruges team. The influence of the Senegalese, who was awarded the summer 2019 award for best young player of the CAN, was also manifested Tuesday evening in Russia.

Further west, Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd (24) discovered the Champions League at the same time as his new club, Stade Rennes, on Tuesday against Russians FC Krasnodar (1-1). Recruited in Dijon last July for 5 million euros, he quickly won in Brittany, within a club of billionaire François Pinault, who no longer hides his ambitions.

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Senegalese Ousseynou Ba also started this Champions League in the best possible way, with a victory for Olympiakos Piraeus against Marseille (1-0). The central defender of the Greek club does indeed continue to align the good performances and could well take advantage of the media exposure of the Champions League to put himself more in value.

Some rumors even point to an interest from Liverpool, where his compatriot Sadio Mané, now teammate in the national team – Ba played for the first time with the Teranga Lions on October 9 in Morocco -, continues to extol his merits. . Case to be continued.

Modern defender, able to score

An African champion also took advantage of the first day to take the light. Algerian Ramy Bensebaini (25) took advantage of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s trip to Inter Milan (2-2) to score his first goal in this competition. Since arriving in Germany in August 2019 from Stade Rennes, the Constantinois has been considered one of the best left side defenders in the Bundesliga.

Modern defender, capable of scoring, Ramy Bensebaini knows where he comes from. Trained at Paradou AC, in Algeria, passed through Lierse (Belgium), Montpellier and Rennes, he methodically builds his career plan, and his choice to sign with a good German club, renowned for the quality of his game, will probably open him up. in the medium term, other horizons.

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More novice, since he is discovering this competition this year, the Ivorian Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro (28) has not been deprived of making a remarkable debut. Ten minutes after his appearance on the lawn of the Olympic Stadium in Rome, the midfielder scored Lazio’s third goal against the Germans of Borussia Dortmund (3-1). Long used to playing maintenance with Toulouse, would this player who has scored only nine goals since the start of his career wake up? In any case, the Roman formation believes in it, she who went two months ago to look for him at the Salernitana of the Italian Serie B.


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