Toure wonder strike tops African goal fest in Europe
03 March 2014, 13:02
Paris - Yaya Toure struck a wonder goal to help Manchester City lift the English League Cup and highlight a memorable weekend for Ivory Coast marksmen across Europe.
A curled equaliser into the top corner by the reigning African Footballer of the Year cancelled a Sunderland goal and set City up for a 3-1 Wembley final triumph.
Former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou claimed a hat-trick as Lille won 3-2 at French Ligue 1 bottom team Ajaccio, whose goals came from fellow Ivorian Junior Tallo.
YAYA TOURE (Manchester City)
The favourites were looking at their second shock loss at Wembley in as many years, having been beaten in last season's FA Cup final by Wigan, when they fell 1-0 behind to underdogs Sunderland in the League Cup final. But that changed in the 55th minute when Ivory Coast star Toure curled an equaliser to the right of goalkeeper Vito Mannone and into the top corner from 30 yards. Barely two minutes later Samir Nasri made it 2-1 before Jesus Navas's last-minute effort sealed a 3-1 victory.
STEVEN PIENAAR (Everton)
The South Africa midfielder endured a frustrating Premier League afternoon on a personal level, failing to test West Ham goalkeeper Adrian with an early shot before, in the second half, seeing a low strike come back off the post. Fortunately for Pienaar, Romelu Lukaku's goal sealed a 1-0 victory.
EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR (Tottenham Hotspur)
The Togo striker turned provider, playing a key role in setting up the only goal of the game for Roberto Soldado in a 1-0 win over struggling Cardiff City at White Hart Lane. He held the ball up, then squared for Soldado, who had been allowed to find space 10 yards out and the Spaniard took one touch before firing past David Marshall in the 28th minute.
SEBASTIEN BASSONG (Norwich City)
It was a match to forget for both the Cameroon defender and his Canaries team-mates as they lost 4-1 at Aston Villa despite taking a third-minute lead through Wes Hoolahan. Villa had already made it 3-1 when the unfortunate Bassong completed the scoring four minutes before half-time by steering Fabian Delph's cross into his own net, with Gabriel Agbonlahor lurking behind him.
PAPE DIOP (Levante)
Senegalese midfielder Diop opened the scoring as Levante rose to eighth with a 2-0 win over Osasuna. However, Diop was shown his fifth yellow card of the season late on, meaning he will miss a trip to Real Madrid next weekend.
IKECHUKWU UCHE (Villarreal)
Uche had an eventful 40 minutes as a second-half substitute in Villarreal's 1-1 draw at home to Real Betis. The Nigerian replaced Jeremy Perbet at half-time and won a penalty that put his side in front before being sent off 10 minutes from time after a second booking.
KWADWO ASAMOAH (Juventus)
Having been left out of the Europa League trip to Trabzonspor, Asamoah passed a late fitness test for Juve's visit to AC Milan and lasted the entirety of a thrilling 2-0 win which gave the Old Lady an 11-point lead over Roma.
Gervinho did not train in midweek due to an injury knock, and it showed at the Olympic Stadium where the Giallorossi dropped two precious points in a scoreless draw with Inter Milan. As usual, the Ivorian kept the opposition defence on their toes, but lacked his usual bite and spurned several potential scoring chances.
ADEL TAARABT (Milan)
Despite a 2-0 defeat at home to Juventus, Moroccan international Taarabt put in another solid performance among Milan's front line, further staking his claim for a regular place in Clarence Seedorf's side. Taarabt was involved in all the moves in which Milan came closest to scoring before Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez struck for the champions to hand Milan only their second defeat in Seedorf's seven-match reign.
MAME DIOUF (Hanover 96)
Senegal striker Diouf scored his first goal for exactly a month when he gave Hanover a first-half lead in their 1-1 draw at Augsburg. Diouf's shot trickled over the Augsburg line after being deflected following a pass from midfielder Manuel Schmeidebach found the Senegalese in space behind the defence.
ERIC CHOUPO-MOTING (Mainz 05)
Cameroon striker Choupo-Moting hit the first-half winner as Mainz triumphed 1-0 at Bayer Leverkusen, whose horror run of results continued with a fourth straight home defeat. His 37th-minute shot gave goalkeeper Bernd Leno no chance when he back-heeled the ball into the net.
SALOMON KALOU (Lille)
The Ivory Coast forward was the star of the show as he bagged a hat-trick in Lille's 3-2 victory at rock-bottom Ajaccio that pushed them back up into the Champions League qualifying positions. Kalou notched his first from the penalty spot on 25 minutes before providing the finishing touch to a fine team move seven minutes before half-time. He secured the three points with his second penalty of the game 16 minutes from full-time.
JUNIOR TALLO (Ajaccio)
But for Kalou's fine performance for Lille,. Ivory Coast forward Tallo would have been the stand-out player of the weekend after bagging a brace in Ajaccio's 3-2 defeat at home to Lille. Tallo gave the misfiring hosts a shock lead just one minute into the game with a chip of sumptuous precision and, following a pair of Kalou strikes, restored parity just before the break.
JORDAN AYEW (Sochaux)
The Ghana international scored a morale-boosting goal after coming off the bench in Sochaux's 2-0 win over Bordeaux. Ayew had not scored for 37 matches before this one, a run that had seen him lose his place in the Marseille team and move away on loan in January in a bid to secure a regular starting bert