PARIS (AFP) – Shola Ameobi celebrated winning a place in the provisional Nigeria squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations by scoring the English Premier League winner for Newcastle against QPR at the weekend.
Ameobi is a late comer to international football, wearing the green shirt of the Super Eagles for the first time last month in a 3-1 friendly victory over Venezuela in Miami.
African stars scored both goals as Everton came from behind at West Ham to triumph 2-1 with Nigerian Victor Anichebe equalising and South African Steven Pienaar snatching the winner.
SHOLA AMEOBI (Newcastle Utd)
Recently capped by Nigeria for the first time, the 31-year-old striker scored the only goal as Newcastle beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 to record just their second win in nine games. Ameobi struck in the 81st minute at St James’ Park, collecting Sylvain Marveaux’s pass, cutting inside a defender, and curling home a low shot with his left foot.
VICTOR ANICHEBE (Everton)
Anichebe claimed a 64th-minute equaliser as Everton came from behind to win 2-1 at West Ham. Pienaar shaped a cross into the box from the left flank and Anichebe met the ball with a glancing header that nestled in the bottom-right corner.
STEVEN PIENAAR (Everton)
The South Africa international netted a 73rd-minute winner to complete Everton’s comeback at Upton Park, although there was more than a touch of fortune to his goal. Leon Osman’s low centre appeared to have eluded Pienaar but Matt Taylor’s attempted clearance cannoned against him and trickled past goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
VICTOR MOSES (Chelsea)
The powerful Nigerian forward started in Chelsea’s 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa but was unable to get onto the score-sheet. He nonetheless played a role in the build-up to Frank Lampard’s 58th-minute goal — Chelsea’s fourth — by forcing Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan into a fine save.
AROUNA KONE (Wigan Athletic)
Ivory Coast striker Kone squandered a good opportunity to put Wigan ahead at home to Arsenal, shooting wide after outpacing Per Mertesacker in the first half. Wigan went on to lose 1-0, leaving them third from bottom in the table.
SAMBOU YATABARE (Bastia)
The unmarked Mali midfielder scored with a header after 26 minutes to net his team’s third goal in the 4-2 win over bottom club Nancy. Bastia showed no ill effects of having to play in Gueugnon, 900km from their Corsican home, after being hit with a stadium ban.
ANDRE AYEW (Marseille)
The Ghana midfielder headed in his fifth goal of the season as Marseille beat St Etienne 1-0 to stay in a tie for the Ligue 1 lead. He came close to adding a second 10 minutes into the second half, but his shot was saved by Stephane Ruffier.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (St Etienne)
The Gabon striker was denied twice in the same match, first seeing Steve Mandanda pull off a point-blank save from his header although the attacker was then ruled offside. Aubameyang was clear on goal later only to be denied by a fine sliding tackle from Rod Fanni.
KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (AC Milan)
The Ghana international was in the thick of the action in his team’s 4-2 defeat at AS Roma and came close to helping his side get on the scoresheet when they were already 3-0 down. Boateng had a header saved by the goalkeeper at point-blank range and his follow-up hit the post.
SULLEY MUNTARI (AC Milan)
Boateng’s compatriot had a painful afternoon in the same match after coming on as a second-half substitute at the Stadio Olimpico. He was in the defensive wall when Miralem Pjanic hit him with a free kick right in the face, sending him down and in need of treatment.
BOUKARY DRAME (Chievo)
The Senegalese defender had a torrid time in his team’s 2-0 defeat at Torino — unable to cope with the speedy Alessio Cerci and seeing Alessandro Gazzi go on a dynamic run before putting away the second goal.
MICHAEL ESSIEN (Real Madrid)
The temporarily retired Ghana midfielder played his first full game since early November as Real Madrid lost 3-2 at Malaga, which left them 16 points behind leaders Barcelona. The versatile midfielder filled in at right-back for the injured Fabio Coentrao.
ODION IGHALO (Granada)
The Nigerian striker played the full game as his side pulled off an important 2-1 win at fellow strugglers Osasuna.
OBAFEMI MARTINS (Levante)
After failing to make the provisional 32-man Nigeria squad for the Cup of Nations, Martins could do nothing to stop his side losing 3-0 at Rayo Vallecano.
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