ROUND-UP: Africans in Ligue 1- Week 10
Ligue 1 returned following the international break, and the latest round of fixtures proved fruitful for a number of the division’s Moroccan stars, in particular.
Africa Football Shop’s Ligue 1 correspondent, Jamie Barlow, reports all the action; including how goals from Cheikh Ndoye and Abdoul Camara sent Angers second, five points off leaders PSG.
Angers continued their fine run of form in week ten with an away victory against Toulouse. Les Scoïstes had to come from behind, though, when Argentine midfielder Óscar Trejo gave the visitors the lead on 24 minutes. Trejo was alert to pounce on a cross-come-shot from Martin Braithewaite, when the player nodded in at the far post. But it took Stephane Moulin’s early high-flyers just three minutes to respond; Cheikh Ndoye powered past Ali Ahamada to level the score line at one-apiece. The Senegal international timed his run to perfection, converting a delicious centre from Vincent Manceau’s out-swinging delivery. Angers’ captain has adjusted well to life in the top flight and has three goals from seven outings, with one red card thrown in for good measure. The away side completed the turnaround shortly before the interval through a great piece of skill from Abdoul Camara. The 25-year-old Guinean striker picked up the ball on the right-hand side before coming inside, tricking his way past two defenders, before despatching a clinical 18-yard left-footed shot into the net. Camara’s impressive solo effort proved to be enough for Angers – who had to thank goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle for keeping out the opposition in the second-half – to secure their sixth win of the campaign.
Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama made his awaited return to action in Lille’s 1-1 draw with Guingamp. Enyeama – making his first appearance in four games – was largely untroubled in the first half and saw his side take the lead on the half-hour mark. The visitors broke from inside their own half with devastating effect; Mounir Obbadi made good ground before playing in fellow Moroccan Sofiane Boufal, whose quick feet dazzled Lars Jacobsen, before poking past Jonas Lossl for his fourth goal of the season. Jimmy Briand levelled just three minutes later, finishing well after some great work from Yannis Salibur. The game got heated late on with both sides searching for the winner, when Stoppila Sunzu received his second yellow card. The Zambia international was dismissed for raising his arm to block Guingamp’s second-half substitute, Nicolas Benezet.
It was a day to remember for French-born Senegal goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo, who shipped four goals in his side’s 4-1 loss to Nice. Mathieu Bodmer and Haten Ben Arfa both struck to put Nice two up, before two Africans hit to ensure Rennes’ eight-game unbeaten run came to an end. With just 62 minutes of Ligue 1 action under his belt this season, Mahamane Traore scored shortly after coming off the bench to put the game out of sight. Mali international Traore tapped in the rebound after Diallo spilled Ben Afra’s low cross 15 minutes from time. Young Algerian ace Saïd Benrahma, repaid manager Claude Puel’s faith in him, when the 20-year-old curled a beautiful right-footed effort into the top-corner from 20 yards, shortly after entering the field of play.
In other news, Yacine Bammou scored the third and final goal in Nantes’ 3-0 romp over struggling Troyes. Efforts from Valentin Rongier and Youssouf Sabaly gave Les Canaris a convincing lead, before the Moroccan striker put the icing on the cake, pouncing on a pitifully short back pass from Chris Mavinga to power through Denis Petric’s weak clearance and tap into an empty net. Bammou’s native international Abdelaziz Barrada, sat out of Marseille’s 1-1 draw with in-form Lorient through suspension. Marseille – without a win in four at the start of play – extended their winless run to five games, despite taking the lead through Michy Batshuayi’s spot-kick. But Cameroonian striker Benjamin Moukandjo, silenced the home fans when the forward out muscled his international team-mate Nicolas N’Koulou, before netting from a long ball from Francois Bellugou.
AFS LIGUE 1 AFRICAN PLAYER OF THE WEEK: CHEIKH NDOYE