Aubameyang writes another chapter in African Clasico history
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was Africa’s star in Europe’s major leagues last weekend, maintaining his excellent start to life at Barcelona with new goals as the Catalan giants beat Real Madrid 4-0 in La Liga.
Elsewhere there were yet more goals from Victor Osimhen in Serie A while Moustapha Cissé marked his debut in the Italian top flight with a late winner for Atalanta just weeks after representing a refugee side in football’s eighth tier Italian.
Aubameyang had already shown his quality for Barcelona before Real Madrid became his latest victims on Sunday Classic.
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Auba became the UEFA Europa League’s third all-time top scorer when he scored against Galatasaray last week, taking his total in the competition to 24 goals, having also become one of only three Barca players this century – Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic being the others – for scoring five goals in their first six La Liga outings for the club.
None of those achievements compared to Sunday, however, as Auba netted twice and registered an assist to steal the show as Barca humiliated Real 4-0 at the Bernabeu.
Aubameyang was denied early by Thibaut Courtois before opening the scoring just before the half-hour mark when he headed home a delightful Ousmane Dembele cross. The goal extended his scoring streak against Real Madrid to five consecutive matches, after punishing Los Blancos during his time with Borussia Dortmund.
He added his second goal to complete the scoring in the 51st minute – after Ronald Araujo and Ferran Torres were also on target – calmly beating Courtois one-on-one after being played behind Real’s backline.
The Gabonese skipper could have had a hat trick – he missed narrowly after being picked off by Jordi Alba – but his fine pass to assist Torres’ goal capped off a truly outstanding performance.
Barcelona’s convincing victory lifted them to third in La Liga, but they remain 12 points behind leaders Real after a miserable start to the season. Nevertheless, this performance ended Barca’s streak of five consecutive games Classic defeats and demonstrated just how far the Camp Nou heavyweights have come under Xavi Hernandez, and how far Aubameyang’s personal renaissance has come since his troubled final months at the Emirates Stadium.
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It was the first time in this century that a player had participated in three goals on his first Classic appearance, and the 32-year-old reaffirms his status as one of the best strikers in the world. And just as African great Eto’o enjoyed a fine record in the game – scoring four goals in eight La Liga attempts – he has never scored twice against Real in a single game in Barca colours.
Aubameyang referenced Dragon Ball Z as he celebrated one of his goals, and then he told beIn Sports what was going through his mind as he put Real to the sword.
“I had one wish, it was just to win here,” he said. “I thought a lot about my family, a lot about my grandparents who are no longer with us, but here I’m happy to have scored for them today.”
Perhaps Aubameyang’s performance will help silence the remaining critics who have chastised him as a flat bully capable of only playing against weaker opponents.
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While Auba’s impact at Barcelona was surprisingly quick, Cissé’s rise through the Italian football pyramid was meteoric.
The 18-year-old was playing in the Seconda Categoria – the eighth tier of Italian football – less than a month ago, but marked his surprising rise from amateur play with the winner on his debut for Atalanta against Bologna on Sunday.
The Guinean was only signed by Atalanta’s academy on February 22, after impressing while playing for refugee side Rinascita Refugees, and he was fast-tracked into the club’s first team after shining at senior level. youth.
After scoring three goals in four games for Atalanta’s youngsters, he was included as a substitute against Genoa on March 13 and later called up from Renato Dall’Ara’s bench with the scores level and 17 minutes remaining. Sunday.
He wasted little time to make an impact, beating Lukasz Skorupski with a neat finish after being played by Mario Pasalic, and was held in the air by his teammates at the final whistle.
“I’m very happy for Atalanta and for Cissé, because he has already settled in very well in training,” teammate Merih Demiral told DAZN. “He deserved this goal and from the next game he will do even better.”
Cissé started performing with Rinascita Refugees in 2019, aged 16, after arriving in Italy from the Guinean capital of Conakry.
“He’s been training with us for a while, but if we had all our forwards available he probably wouldn’t have come to Bologna with us,” Atalanta assistant coach Tullio Gritti said.
“It’s proof that there is always quality in saving, and that you just have to have the courage to go after it.
“The choice of Cissé is a stroke of genius by [Atalanta head coach Gian Piero] Gasperini, given the many qualities of the boy, especially his shot.”
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Elsewhere in Italy, Osimhen bolstered Napoli’s title hopes with their two goals in a 2-1 win over Udinese – having netted twice against Hellas Verona in Serie A the previous weekend.
Never before had he scored two consecutive braces, and the double took his tally for the season to 11 league goals – equaling Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi as Nigeria’s top scorer in Europe’s major leagues.
Curiously, Osimhen’s goals were his first at Napoli’s home ground – the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona – since mid-October, and head coach Luciano Spalletti will surely be aiming for an improvement in the Super Eagles leader’s home form. as they seek to win their first title. since 1990.
At the top of Serie A, Algerian Ismael Bennacer scored the game’s only goal as Milan stuttered to a 1-0 win over struggling Cagliari. He was also the Rossoneriof the savior against Bologna in October – while his teammates were shooting blanks – and the interventions of the North African could prove critical at the end of the season.