Africans to the fore in Europe

LONDON - Emmanuel Adebayor's 10th league goal of the season helped Arsenal beat north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to stay top of the English Premier League in a good weekend for Africa's players in the European leagues.

LONDON - Emmanuel Adebayor's 10th league goal of the season helped Arsenal beat north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to stay top of the English Premier League in a good weekend for Africa's players in the European leagues.

The tall and skilful Togo striker scored Arsenal's first goal in a lucky 2-1 home win that extended their unbeaten run against their neighbours to 20 matches in all competition.

Adebayor has been in superb form all year for Arsenal and after latching on to a back-heel from Spanish playmaker Cesc Fabregas, he finished with a firm side-footed effort.

Spurs equalised and wasted a penalty when the score was 1-1 before Arsenal took the three points thanks to a goal from Danish substitute Nicklas Bendtner 14 minutes from time.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Zimbabwean Benjani Mwaruwari scored a consolation goal in Portsmouth's 4-1 defeat by Liverpool.

Benjani took his goal brilliantly to make the score 2-1 but the visitors never looked like taking anything from the game and their run of six consecutive away wins ended.

After waiting until last week for his first goal of the season, Senegal captain El Hadji Diouf scored for the second successive game as Bolton Wanderers defeated Birmingham 3-0 at the Reebok Stadium. Diouf capitalised on some poor defending to open the scoring with a neat finish.

In Spain, Mali striker Frederic Kanoute played a lead role in Sevilla's 4-1 demolition of high-flying Racing Santander. Kanoute opened the scoring in the first half with a smart finish after a dazzling one-touch passing movement.

Racing equalised early in the second period before Sevilla stepped up their game.

On Sunday evening, African players came to the fore when Real Madrid travelled to Barcelona.

Real's Malian midfielder Mahamadou Diarra was on the winning side as his team edged a tight encounter 1-0, partly due to Diarra's ability to stifle the Barcelona midfield.

Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o was superbly marshalled by the Madrid defenders but Ivory Coast international midfielder Yaya Toure did come close to a late equaliser for Barca.

In France, Olympique Marseille striker Mamadou Niang of Senegal scored his second goal in as many games as his side defeated Le Mans 1-0 on Saturday, while Malian defender Sammy Traore scored the only goal of the game in Auxerre's home win over Monaco.

Algeria's Rafik Saifi was on target as FC Lorient beat Metz 2-0 and Congolese forward Chris Malonga scored a late equaliser as AS Nancy hosted Olympique Lyon.

In the Netherlands, Ghanaian striker Kwame Quansah scored for Heracles Almelo but could not prevent them going down 2-1 at home to Groningen.

In Portugal, Senegalese striker Modou Sougou was on target for Uniao Leiria in their 2-1 home defeat by Maritimo and Angolan Djalma Campos hit the winner for the visitors nine minutes from time. Another Angolan, Edson Nobre, was on target for Pacos Ferreira as they lost 2-1 at Sporting Lisbon. - Reuters

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