Boateng hit his first professional hat-trick
PARIS: Egyptian Mohamed Salah broke a record and Ghanaian Emmanuel Boateng left Barcelona heartbroken as they became the top African performers in the elite European leagues at the weekend. Salah scored his 32nd English Premier league goal of the season for Liverpool on the final day to better a record he shared with Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez. A Boateng hat-trick enabled lowly Levante to stun Barcelona 5-4 and shatter the La Liga champions dream of an unbeaten league season after going 36 matches without losing.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)
The winger scored a record-breaking 32nd goal of the Premier League season as he set a new mark for the most goals in a 38-game campaign. Salah went into the last day of the season at Anfield sharing the record, but needed only 26 minutes to make it his personal property as he produced a clinical left-foot finish from inside the Brighton penalty area, setting Liverpool on the way to a 4-0 win that secured a Champions League place next season. Salah, who was voted the Premier League Player of the Year earlier in the day, has now scored 44 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool this season.
WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)
The Ivory Coast winger netted his ninth goal of the season as Palace rounded off their campaign with a 2-0 win over relegated West Bromwich Albion. Zaha fired home from Patrick van Aanholt’s cross in the 70th minute to put Palace ahead. It was Zaha’s fifth goal in his last six appearances, capping a superb season.
PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)
The Gabon striker marked Arsene Wenger’s farewell with the winning goal in the Gunners’ 1-0 victory at Huddersfield. Aubameyang scored in the 38th minute with a close-range finish at the end of a flowing Arsenal attack. Aubameyang’s 10th goal since moving from Borussia Dortmund in January provided Wenger with an uplifting exit as the Arsenal manager steps down after 22 years in charge.
EMMANUEL BOATENG (Levante)
Boateng hit his first professional hat-trick as Levante stunned Barcelona by ending the La Liga champions’ hopes of an unbeaten season with a sensational 5-4 victory. Boateng scored twice in the first half an hour and his third shortly after the interval. He is the first player to score a hat-trick against Barcelona in a league game since Diego Forlan in 2005.
ACHRAF HAKIMI (Real Madrid)
The Madrid-born Morocco defender scored the fourth goal soon after half-time as Champions League finalists Real Madrid romped to a 6-0 triumph over Celta Vigo in their final home match of the La Liga season.
Nigerian Simy pulled relegation-threatened Crotone level after going behind to an early goal to Lazio in a 2-2 draw. The towering 26-year-old nodded in after half an hour in their home match in Calabria. It was the seventh goal this season for Simy.
FRANCK KESSIE (AC Milan)
Ivorian Kessie was in impressive form as he gave AC Milan the lead after an hour in Atalanta only for a goalkeeping error to allow the Bergamo side to grab a late 1-1 draw. The result secured Europa League football for both clubs next season.
CHEICK DIABATE (Benevento)
On-loan Malian Diabate scored a late winner as already-relegated Benevento gave their fans a lift with a 1-0 win over Genoa in their final home Serie A match. Goalkeeper Christian Puggioni saved mid-table Genoa from conceding until four minutes to go when Diabate finished off a cross.It was his seventh goal in nine games since switching from Turkish club Osmanlispor.
NABY KEITA (RB Leipzig)
The Liverpool-bound Guinea midfielder signed off after two seasons with Leipzig by helping them romp to a 6-2 win at Hertha Berlin. He combined with Germany striker Timo Werner to set up the second goal for England junior international Ademola Lookman, who drilled home a superb shot on 22 minutes. Keita went off 14 minutes from the final whistle in Berlin after a blow to the back.
SALOMON KALOU (Hertha Berlin)
The Ivory Coast veteran netted his 12th league goal of the season on the final day when he timed his run into the box perfectly and powered home a header in Hertha’s heavy home defeat to Leipzig. When Marvin Plattenhardt swung in a corner, Kalou sprinted between two defenders and drove home his header to make it 5-2 on 64 minutes.
CHADRAC AKOLO (VfB Stuttgart)
Stuttgart picked up their first win at Bayern Munich at the 17th attempt with a shock 4-1 victory over the Bundesliga champions and Democratic Republic of the Congo midfielder Akolo was among their scorers. Stutgart, who repeatedly punished Bayern on the break, made it 3-1 on 52 minutes when Emiliano Insua picked out Akolo perfectly in the centre of the box and the Congolese headed back across into the corner.
LEBO MOTHIBA (Lille)
The young South African continued good form by scoring twice in the first half as Lille came from behind at home to defeat Dijon 2-1 and guarantee another season of Ligue 1 football.
STEPHANE BAHOKEN (Strasbourg)
Cameroonian Bahoken struck the first goal of the match as Strasbourg upset third-place Lyon 3-2 to ensure they remain in the top flight next season.
JEAN-MICHAEL SERI (Nice)
Ivorian Seri netted the last Nice goal as they triumphed 4-1 at home against relegation-threatened Caen, whose lone goal came from compatriot Christian Kouakou. – AFP