Al-Ahram Weekly Online   27 September - 3 October 2012
Issue No. 1116
Sports
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Soccer on the side

Zidan and Shikabala astonish

Click to view caption
Marawan Zayed reviews the ups and downs of Arab and African players overseas

 Starting with our Egyptian stars, Mohamed Salah played two away games this week for Swiss outfit Basel, one against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League in Portugal and one against Young Boys Bern in the Swiss League. Salah helped his team claim a valuable 0-0 draw in Portugal against a team that rarely drops points at home. Salah used his speed and trickery in creating chances for his teammates and generally had a fine game until he was substituted in the 77th minute. Moving from the Europa League to the Swiss League, Salah wasn't at his best as his team drew 1-1 against Young Boys Bern. Salah was strictly man marked throughout the game until he was substituted once again, this time in the 59th minute. Basel remained in fifth place after the game.

Hull City's Egyptian superstar Ahmed Al-Mohammadi played two extremely testing games away from home this week with the first coming against Leeds United and the other against Leicester City with mixed outcomes. Against Leeds, Al-Mohammadi played his best ever game since moving to England when he played a starring role in helping his team win 3-2. He scored one and assisted two in a performance that showed everything about the young pharaoh. However, against Leicester it was a different story as they lost 3-1 thanks to a David Nugent hat-trick.

Hull City's performance was a shadow of the one displayed at Elland Road four days earlier as they were outplayed for most of the game this time around. Al-Mohammadi played the full 90 minutes but like his team he couldn't repeat his performance against Leeds, though he had an above average game. Hull remains in fourth place after these two games.

Still in England and the Championship, there was another goal scored by an Egyptian star in the form of Adam Al-Abd. Brighton managed to win 2-1 away at Millwall with Al-Abd scoring the all-important second in the 50th minute to make it 2-0 at that point. Al-Abd was immense at both ends of the pitch with some resolute defending plus popping up with the winning goal for his team to take them top of the league with 16 points from six games.

Moving on to Belgium for our Egyptian trio Mohamed Al-Gabbas, Ahmed Samir Farag and Ahmed Said Okka, we have diverse news about them this week. Ahmed Samir Farag suffered a horrific knee injury in training last Wednesday and it was confirmed that he tore his cruciate knee ligaments, which means that Farag will be out for at least six months. On the other hand Okka scored his first ever goal for Lierse as they drew 1-1 with Waasland-Beveren away from home. Despite taking the lead in the 12th minute from the penalty spot through Okka, Lierse failed to defend their lead and conceded a late equaliser through Badash in the 86th minute to deny the visitors a deserved win. Al-Gabbas started on the bench and came on in the 80th minute but did not have any clear chances to score.

Amr Zaki's Elazigspor continued their awful run of results as they drew 1-1 at home against Bursapor. Zaki played his best game in Turkey as he assisted in his side's only goal of the game in the 44th minute when he passed to Emreciksin to slot home in an empty net. Zaki himself was denied a goal in the 41st minute when he put the ball in the net after following up Herve Tom's header but it was ruled offside on Tom. Elazigspor remains bottom of the league.

Mido's Barnsley finally won their first away game of the season as they thrashed Birmingham City 5-0 in the most surprising result of the championship this week with all goals coming in the second half. Mido was absent as he's yet to recover from an injury.

In Italy, Egyptian star Hegazi was still absent as his team Fiorentina drew 1-1 away against Parma. Hegazi is yet to make his official debut for the club.

Leaving Europe and moving to the UAE where our magicians Mohamed Zidan and Shikabala started their campaigns in astonishing fashion. "Shika" played two games this week one in the cup and one in the league, producing man of the match displays in both games. First, he scored the third goal for Al Wasl in the cup in the 4-2 win over IttihadKalba to make the score 3-2 at that point. Moving to his first league game, once again Shika was at his best as he scored the fourth goal for his club in a 4-1 win over Al Wahda. Shika found the net with a very powerful shot from outside the box that came off the post to make the score 4-1. Shika quickly became the fans favourite at Al Wasl.

Leaving Shika and moving to Zizou or Mohamed Zidan, the former Bundesliga champion also played two games, one in the cup and one in the league but the endings varied drastically for both himself and his team. In the cup Zizou was in colossal form against El Dhafra as he scored a beauty and assisted on another in a 2-1 win for his team Bani Yas. Zizou opened the scoring in the sixth minute as he curled a free kick from the left flank into the far top corner leaving the keeper with no chance. In the 57th minute Zizou shone once again as he sent a delightful free kick into the box leaving his teammate Senghour with the easy task of heading it in from close range. In the league, Zizou's Bani Yas started their season with a disappointing 2-0 defeat against El Shabab. Zizou injured his hamstring in the 33rd minute and had to come off. The injury's extent is yet to be known.

As for Arab and African stars, in Spain, Getafe's Moroccan player Abdelaziz Barrada scored his side's only goal of the game in a 2-1 loss away against Celta Vigo. That was Barrada's third goal of the campaign.

Real Madrid's Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien helped his team beat RayoVallecano 2-0 away from home as he played the full game and put in a very tidy shift.

Still in Spain, Moroccan Nabil el Zhar played the full game for Levante as they beat Real Sociedad 2-1 while his Nigerian teammate Obafemi Martins came off the bench in the 46th minute to score the winning goal on his debut three minutes from time.

Moving to England, Nigeria's Victor Anichebe scored the opening goal for Everton as they beat Swansea City away 3-0.

Against Fulham, Wigan's Ivorian striker Arouna Kone scored a consolation goal as they lost 2-1 at home.

Against Arsenal, Man City's Ivorian Yaya Toure played a brilliant game in the middle of the park once again. Several days earlier in the Champions League against Real Madrid, he was the best player on the pitch by some distance as he provided the assist for the opening goal in a 3-2 loss.

Chelsea's Nigerian John Obi Mikel played for 83 minutes as his side beat Stoke City 1-0 at home. Mikel was very tidy and neat in midfield until he was substituted seven minutes from time for Lampard as Chelsea looked for a winning goal.

Still in England, Senegalese duo Pappis Cisse and Dembaba had contrasting outcomes in their home game against Norwich City. Demba Ba scored the only goal of the game while Cisse missed a penalty.

In France, Ghanaian duo Andre Ayew and his brother Jordan helped Marseille beat Evian 1-0 at home to stay top of the league. Several days earlier in the Europa League, Ayew managed to score a 94th minute equaliser against Fenerbache in a 2-2 draw.

In Italy, Juve's Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah assisted in the second goal to Quagliarella in a 2-0 over Cheivo.

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