ROUND-UP: Africans in La Liga – Week 1
The Spanish La Liga got off to a frustrating start for African players as most were at the receiving end of defeats with their respective clubs.
Enoch Fiifi Forson takes a look at how the continents players fared on week one of the world’s greatest league.
On Friday, Veteran Cameroonian shot stopper Carlos Kameni kept a clean sheet following Malaga’s scoreless draw against Sevilla. Ivorian left back Arthur Boka and Moroccan Nordin Amrabat featured but summer signing Aduane Tighadouini watched proceedings from the Malaga bench.
At the Power8 stadium in Cornella de Llobregat, Algerian midfielder Mehdi Lacen played the entire duration of Getafe’s away defeat at the hands of Espanyol who had Guinea’s Mamadou Sylla Diallo on their bench. Bernard Mensah who hails from Ghana was not part of Getafe’s match day squad.
Deportivo La coruna shared the points with David Moyes’ Real Sociedad. Moroccan midfielder Fayçal Fajr who is on loan at Deportivo from second tier Elche played 90 minutes.
Thomas Partey missed Atletico Madrid’s unconvincing 1-0 victory at the expense of newly promoted Las Palmas due to injury. Another player of Ghanaian descent Iñaki Williams, watched from the stands as Athletic Club succumbed to Barcelona in Bilbao.
Rayo Vallecano couldn’t make the most of their home advantage as they claimed a point against Valencia. Manucho Gonçalves earned a yellow card in the 49th minute with Guinean attacker Alhassane Bangoura replacing Nicolas Fedor in Rayo’s setup with 23 minutes to end proceedings. Valencia were without key player Sofiane Feghouli who was serving a suspension.
22-year old Algerian midfielder Rachid Ait-Atmene was handed his La Liga start by coach Abelardo in Sporting Gijon’s famous 0-0 draw against giants Real Madrid.
Mozambique’s Simão Junior had a terrible start to the campaign, becoming the first player to be red carded in the new the La Liga season as Levante’s lost 2-1 at home to Celta De Vigo. Nabil Ghilas endured the pain of losing first game of the season alongside Morrocan defender Zouhair Feddal who was unused.
In the game that had the most African representation, Villarreal were denied victory by a controversial late equaliser from Real Betis. Cédric Bakambu completed two dribbles, three less than Piccini in his debut appearance for Villarreal. Eric Bailly saw full time action whilst Senegalese Alfred N’diaye was limited to 75 minutes of action by Real Betis coach.
Granada’s Youssef El Arabi, Isaac Success and Uche Henry were beaten convincingly by Eibar at home on Monday.