Barcelona's Franck Kessie shines in El Clasico
PARIS: Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie came off the bench to score an added-time winner for Barcelona in a 2-1 El Clasico triumph over Real Madrid at the weekend.
The dramatic victory confirmed Barca as hot favourites to regain the Spanish title for the first time since 2019.
Kessie often celebrates his goals with a military-style salute — a tribute to his late father, who became a soldier after a professional football career.
Here, AFP Sport highlights African headline-makers in the major European leagues:
JEFFREY SCHLUPP (Crystal Palace)
Ghana international Schlupp scored a consolation goal for managerless Crystal Palace in their 4-1 defeat at league leaders Arsenal. The 30-year-old midfielder hammered home from close range following a corner in the 63rd minute to make it 3-1 but any faint hopes of an unlikely comeback were quashed when Bukayo Saka restored the home side´s three-goal margin.
EMMANUEL DENNIS (Nottingham Forest)
Nigeria forward Dennis opened the scoring for struggling Nottingham Forest against high-flying Newcastle. Dennis, who joined Forest from Watford this season, latched onto Sven Botman's back-pass before dinking the ball over Nick Pope in the 26th minute but Alexander Isak struck twice to seal a 2-1 win for the Magpies.
ABDOULAYE DOUCOURE (Everton)
Mali midfielder Doucoure found the net in Everton's 2-2 draw at Chelsea, nodding over the line to cancel out Joao Felix's opener. Chelsea restored their lead through a Kai Havertz penalty but Ellis Simms scored a late equaliser, set up by Doucoure.
FRANCK KESSIE (Barcelona)
A low cross from Alejandro Balde set up Kessie at the far post to sweep the ball into the corner of the net. The match-winner gave Barcelona a 12-point advantage with 12 matches remaining.
SAMUEL CHUKWUEZE (Villarreal)
The Nigerian winger continued his fine recent form by opening the scoring in Villarreal's 3-0 win at Osasuna. Drifting into the area unmarked, Chukwueze kept his cool to volley home Alfonso Pedraza's pinpoint cross.
VICTOR OSIMHEN (Napoli)
The Nigeria forward was once again one of the stars of the show as Napoli continued their march to the Serie A title. Towering headers in each half in a 4-0 win at Torino helped Napoli eventually stretch their massive league lead to 19 points and took Osimhen´s tally for the domestic campaign to 21 goals.
KINGSLEY EHIZIBUE (Udinese)
Germany-born Ehizibue struck the goal which sealed Udinese's 3-1 win over AC Milan and gave his team their first home win since September. Ehizibue, who represents Nigeria internationally, scored his second goal of the season in the 70th minute and helped Udinese up to eighth in Serie A.
SEBASTIEN HALLER (Borussia Dortmund)
Haller scored twice in Dortmund's 6-1 demolition of Cologne. In the first half, he hammered home and was on the spot in the second half to tap in a rebound from a free-kick.
OMAR MARMOUSH (Wolfsburg)
Egypt forward Marmoush scored his second goal in three games for Wolfsburg amid speculation he will join Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of the season. His long-range effort gave Wolfsburg a 1-0 win at Stuttgart.
BAMO MEITE (Lorient)
The 21-year-old defender from the Ivory Coast, who moved to Paris from Abidjan as a child, scored his first senior goal for Lorient in their 1-1 draw with Nice, a result which keeps alive their slim chances of qualifying for Europe. Meite only made his first-team debut for Lorient in January but has quickly become a regular starter.
HABIB DIALLO (Strasbourg)
The Senegal international striker had an eventful game for Strasbourg in their relegation six-pointer against Auxerre. He won a first-half penalty only to then see his kick saved. Diallo atoned by scoring late on to seal a 2-0 win for his side. With 14 goals this is already his most prolific season at this level.