ROUND-UP: Africans in the English League Cup
It was a fantastic two days of action for Africans involved in the Capital One Cup, with plenty of goals and plenty of chances for the continent’s stars.
It is a competition that always throws up surprises and that surprise came at the King Power Stadium from Leicester’s new-found gem in their youth set up, Joe Dodoo.
The 20-year-old Ghanaian made an immediate impact on his full home debut against an in-form West Ham, scoring his fourth League Cup goal for the club in two cup games, making it 1-0 after six minutes with a strike from 10 yards. He had previously scored three against Bury in the competition this season and looks to be knocking on the manager’s door for a start in the league. He was later subbed with ten minutes to go, after creating a number of further chances. Riyad Mahrez, who was saw less than ten minutes of action, came on at the same time as N’Golo Kante replaced Dodoo. While Yohan Benalouane‘s effort was saved as Leicester looked for the advantage in extra time. Jeffrey Schlupp had two shots denied in as many minutes with the hosts pressing for a winner. But an 116th minute winner for the hosts put Victor Moses and Cheikhou Kouyate‘s Hammers 2-1 down and out of the competition at the third round.
Rudy Gestede headed Aston Villa into the last 16 with the only goal of the game on 62 minutes, beating local rivals Birmingham 1-0 at home. He made a quick start and went close after two minutes, before Jordan Ayew tested the City keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Middlesbrough’s winger Albert Adomah returned to the side by offering two goals either side of the break, to see of fellow Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers with a comfortable 3-0 win. His opener gave Boro the lead ten minutes before the break, going on to set up his side’s second and rounded the game off with another goal, after creating chances throughout the match. Carl Ikeme returned to the starting line up for Wolves in goal, while Nigerian youngsters Dominic Iorfa and Bright Enobakhare also started. In-demand forward Benik Afobe was introduced fifteen minutes into the second half, but could not find a goal.
Derek Asamoah thought he had made Carlisle’s distant dreams come true when he levelled for the visitors away to Liverpool in the first half but, following the introduction of Jabo Ibehre in the second half for Carlisle, they could only send the game into extra time. Neither side could find the net, with Ibehre testing ‘keeper Adam Bogdan in the Liverpool goal. However, it was not to be the League Two side’s night, losing 3-2 on penalties.
Southampton’s night was a memorable one and so it would have been for Sadio Mane, who provided two in the Saints’ 6-0 hammering of MK Dons. The 23-year-old converted from a tight angle before staying composed to get his second and Southampton’s third. Mane could have made it three after 60 minutes, but instead this time was denied by the home side.
Clinton N’Jie came on to good effect for Tottenham after 85 minutes, firstly missing with a header seconds after his arrival, and close again with a shot from outside the box, as rivals Arsenal went on to win 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
Moses Odubajo made his third appearance for Hull City in the League Cup as they ousted their Premier League opponents Swansea from the competition, winning 1-0 at home. Ahmed Elmohamady and Chuba Akpom both started for the hosts.
Bournemouth managed to progress top the fourth round via a 3-2 penalty success away to Preston North End, having been level at 2-2 after extra time. Christian Atsu started only his second game on loan for the Cherries, before being subbed four minutes before his side were pegged back to 1-1.
Another man who would have been keen to get game time was Chelsea’s Baba Rahman, making his second appearance for the Blues, starting alongside Nigeria international Jon Obi Mikel, as Papy Djilobodji came on in added time of Chelsea’s 4-1 victory at League One side Walsall.
Kevin Bru has also been left short of games, making his second appearance for Ipswich Town this season at no other than Old Trafford. But it was not to be the Theatre of Dreams for the Mauritius international, as they lost 3-0 to Manchester United, with Larsen Toure coming on with 15 minutes to spare for the visitors.
And finally, Sebastien Bassong helped Norwich keep a clean sheet in their 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, while Dieumerci Mbokani helped set up Matt Jarvis’ opening goal. Stephane Sessegnon started for the Baggies.