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Africa Spreads its Influence Across Europe's Big Leagues

  • Reuters, Monday, April 30, 2007 4:01 PM
In his roundup of results across Europe, Reuters' Timothy Collings says that this past weekend in particular underscores Africa's spreading influence across the continent's biggest leagues. The biggest goal of them all came from Barcelona's Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o, whose goal against Levante, a team featuring several African players, carried La Liga's laboring champions to a crucial 1-0 victory on a day when title chasers Sevilla and Real Madrid won with ease. Sevilla's Malian striker, Frederic Kanoute, this year's favorite for the Pachichi scoring title, did not play once again due to a groin injury.

In England, Ivorian Soloman Kalou netted both goals for Chelsea, though his contribution wasn't enough to keep the English champion from dropping two points at home to Bolton. Chelsea regularly features several African players, including Kalou, fellow Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba, who finished second in PFA voting for Player of the Year this season, Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel, Lassana Diarra, born in Paris to parents from Mali, Cameroon's Geremi, and the unflappable Michael Essien of Ghana. Elsewhere in England, Arsenal's Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor scored a late game-winner against relegation-threatened Fulham in a game that eventually ended 3-1. Arsenal also features several African players, including the Ivorians Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure. Meanwhile, Portsmouth's Zimbabwean striker, Benjani Mwaruwari, scored the first goal in Pompey's 2-1 home win against Liverpool.

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