African players in Europe: Dream home debut for Awoniyi

Nigerian Taiwo Awoniyi began repaying the £17.5 million ($21 mn, 20.7 mn euros) he cost Nottingham Forest with the goal that beat West Ham 1-0 in the Premier League at the weekend.

Joe Aribo was another Nigerian international to score in the most watched domestic league in the world, with his goal sparking a comeback that earned Southampton a 2-2 draw against Leeds.

Here, we highlight some African headline-makers at the weekend:

ENGLAND

• TAIWO AWONIYI (Nottingham Forest)

Forest have made a remarkable 15 new signings on their return to the top flight for the first time in 23 years in a bid to guarantee survival. The biggest outlay of that shopping spree was a reported club record spent on Awoniyi from Union Berlin. Awoniyi made himself an instant hero on his home debut with the only goal as Forest beat West Ham, even if the 24-year-old knew little about the finish. A block from West Ham defender Ben Johnson cannoned off Awoniyi’s knee and trickled into the empty net.

• KALIDOU KOULIBALY (Chelsea)

The Senegal captain got his Chelsea career off to a flying start by scoring on his home debut in a tetchy 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Koulibaly showed the technique of a striker rather than a centre-back to volley in Marc Cucurella’s corner for the opening goal.

• JOE ARIBO (Southampton)

Aribo came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal and possibly save Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job in a draw with Leeds. Saints were trailing 2-0 when he was introduced just after the hour mark and it took just 10 minutes for the former Rangers man to give Southampton hope by showing neat footwork to round Illan Meslier and fire into the far corner.

GERMANY

• SADIO MANE (Bayern Munich)

Former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane again impressed for Bayern, despite not getting on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. Mane had one goal in each half ruled out for offside as he looks to build a partnership with German winger Serge Gnabry similar to the one he shared with Mohamed Salah at Anfield.

ITALY

• ADEMOLA LOOKMAN (Atalanta)

Atalanta escaped from Sampdoria with a 2-0 win thanks in part to Lookman’s beautifully taken debut goal. The Nigeria international finished off a rapid counter-attack in the fifth minute of stoppage time with a cool finish after dummying the home defense.

• ASSAN CEESAY (Lecce)

Gambian Ceesay had Lecce fans dreaming of a positive start to their Serie A season when he expertly finished off Federico Di Francesco’s neat through ball to draw the promoted side level with Inter Milan. It wasn’t to be as Denzel Dumfries snatched a last-gasp winner for Inter.

Source: Modern Ghana