Four-time African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto’o scored in Italy for the first time since the 2010-2011 season as Sampdoria defeated Cagliari 2-0 at the weekend.
The Cameroonian, who is in the twilight of an illustrious career, joined the Serie A outfit recently from English Premier League club Everton.
Eto’o struck 21 goals for then Serie A and European champions Inter Milan four seasons ago.
RUDY GESTEDE (Blackburn Rovers)
Blackburn were missing Josh King, scorer of a hat-trick against Stoke City in the previous round, for their FA Cup quarter-final at Liverpool, but his absence was scarcely noticed thanks to an uncompromising performance from Gestede. The bruising Benin international bullied Liverpool’s central defenders throughout, prompting manager Gary Bowyer to describe him as “unplayable”, and helped Blackburn take the tie to a replay after a 0-0 draw.
KOLO TOURE (Liverpool)
An early collision between Gestede and Martin Skrtel saw Toure pressed into action in the 11th minute at Anfield and the Ivory Coast international endured a mixed afternoon. He found the net for Liverpool and hit the post either side of half-time, only to be flagged offside on both occasions, while his loose pass resulted in a chance for Blackburn in the first half that saw Craig Conway shoot narrowly wide.
BROWN IDEYE (West Bromwich Albion)
West Brom’s record signing endured a day to forget as his side lost 2-0 at Aston Villa in the FA Cup quarter-finals. The Nigeria striker blazed a glorious early chance over the bar from an inviting Craig Gardner cross and also failed to beat Villa goalkeeper Shay Given with a diving header.
NABIL BENTALEB (Tottenham Hotspur)
Algerian midfielder Bentaleb was involved in one of the weekend’s most controversial incidents during Tottenham’s 2-1 win at Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League. QPR were pushing for an equaliser late in the game when a shot from Charlie Austin appeared to strike Bentaleb on the arm inside the visitors’ penalty area, but referee Craig Pawson waved play on.
KALU UCHE (Levante)
Nigerian striker Uche scored his third goal in just six appearances since joining Levante in January to give them a vital 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Eibar and move them out of the relegation zone.
SULLEY MUNTARI (AC Milan)
Injuries have ravaged Milan of late, but Muntari’s first appearance in four games was not a happy one. A first-half foul by the Ghanaian on Artur Ionita gave Luca Toni the chance to send Verona in front from the spot. Milan fought back from a Jeremy Menez penalty soon after and looked to be heading for a win after Panagiotis Tachtsidis turned into his own net from Philippe Mexes’s shot until Uruguayan Nico Lopez fired a last-gasp equaliser for the visitors.
Gervinho has been in less than spectacular form since returning from a triumphant campaign with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations, but he is not alone at a goal-shy Roma. The striker helped create a chance for Juan Iturbe early on but notably shaved the post with a drive on the counter from midfield — one of several misses lamented by coach Rudi Garcia after his side’s remarkable run of draws stretched to eight in nine league games following a stalemate at Chievo.
SAMUEL ETO’O (Sampdoria)
Eto’o repaid his first start for the Genoa-based club with an impressive second-half strike to wrap up the points from a 2-0 win over Cagliari. It was Eto’o’s first goal in Serie A since the 2010-2011 season when he hit 21 league goals for then defending league champions and Champions League holders Inter Milan.
WAGUE MOLLA (Udinese)
Mali defender Molla might not be the biggest name in Serie A, but he was being feted among the match heroes at Udinese after his 49th-minute header effectively secured the points for the northerners in a thrilling 3-2 win against on-form Torino. It was the 24-year-old’s maiden Serie A goal in his fourth appearance since joining from second division French outfit Caen at the start of the season.
ANDRE AYEW (Marseille)
The Ghanaian scored his third goal in four games since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations to help Marseille to a stunning 6-1 win at Toulouse that boosted their flagging title hopes.
AISSA MANDI (Reims)
The Algeria full-back scored his fourth goal of the campaign as Reims finally recorded a first Ligue 1 win of 2015 at the ninth attempt, beating Nantes 3-1 to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
DIDIER NDONG (Lorient)
The 20-year-old Gabon midfielder, who joined Lorient in January, was handed his first Ligue 1 start against Saint-Etienne but was sent off midway through the second half with the game still goalless. After his dismissal, Lorient conceded twice to slump to a 2-0 defeat.
MAX-ALAIN GRADEL (Saint-Etienne)
The Ivorian winger continues to look like Saint-Etienne’s most consistent attacking threat — he scored for the third league game in a row to secure the 2-0 win over Lorient that boosted his side’s European hopes.
NABIL FEKIR (Lyon)
The find of the season in France, Fekir won a penalty that was converted by Alexandre Lacazette and then scored two fine goals of his own to inspire Lyon to a 5-1 win at Montpellier that allowed them to end the weekend still on top of the table. Fekir is at the centre of a tug of war between Algeria and France, with both desperate for him to commit his international future to them.
ERIC CHOUPO-MOTING (Schalke 04)
He set up both of Max Meyer’s goals in Schalke’s 3-1 win over Hoffenheim. Choupo-Moting’s superb cross just before half-time saw Meyer drill home his shot before the Cameroon midfielder fired in a crisp pass which allowed Meyer to make it 3-0.
ANTHONY UJAH (Cologne)
The Nigeria international produced a most unusual celebration after scoring Cologne’s final goal in a 4-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt by lifting Cologne mascot ‘Hennes’, a real goat, into the air by its horns. The 24-year-old has scored three goals in his last three games after netting nine times this season and finished off a Cologne counter-attack in the 82nd minute.
Photo Credits : AFP