Game changing Africans powering respective teams to Europa semi-finals

Game changing Africans powering respective teams to Europa semi-finals
Faris Moumbagna of Olympique celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final, 2nd leg soccer match of Olympique Marseille against SL Benfica, in Marseille, France, 18 April 2024. EPA/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

by Staff Reporter

Saturday Apr 20, 2024. 10:27

Olympique de Marseille made it into the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League following their victory on penalties against Benfica and the Africans in the team have got the world talking.

The French outfit were beaten 2-1 in Portugal a week ago in the first leg, but made up for lost time with a 1-0 victory in the second, taking the game all the way to the wire at the Velodrome.

Cameroon striker Faris Moumbagna was the hero on the night as he scored OM’s goal. The team won the shootout 4-2, proving to be more skilful in front of goal than their opponents as they converted all four of their penalties.

Marseille has the highest number of Africans in their squad amongst the four teams that are left in the tournament, and they will go up against Atalanta in the next round.

African magic stands out

Italian club Atalanta eliminated cup favourites Liverpool from the competition too, despite losing the second leg 1-0, their strong performance at Anfield made sure they got into the next round with an aggregate score of 3-1.

Ademola Lookman and El Bilal Toure are making the most of their spells at the club, with Lookman in particular bagging nine goals and four assists in all competitions this season.

Bayer Leverkusen, who just made history by clinching their first Bundesliga title also booked their spot in the semis. The team has five African stars in their squad, namely, Victor Boniface, Nathan Tella, Odilon Kossounou, Edmond Tapsoba and Amine Adli.

All of them have been instrumental in the team’s recent success under head coach Xabi Alonso, and they are eyeing more glory as they are set to take on AS Roma in the semis.

The future is Africa

After an entertaining Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) earlier in the year, the players in the tournament showed that the future is bright for the continent’s football.

It can only get better from here on out, as more African players are receiving recognition for their efforts in the pitch and of course on football’s biggest stage.

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