QPR boss hails Taarabt after brace
QPR manager Harry Redknapp hailed Morocco playmaker Adel Taarabt after his weekend brace downed Fulham 2-1 and earned the struggling London club their first English Premier League win of the season.
Taarabt has not decided whether to make himself available for the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa during January and February or help Rangers' relegation battle.
Reigning African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure hit the match-clinching third goal as title contenders Manchester City won 3-1 at Newcastle United,
whose goal came from Senegalese Demba Ba.


The Moroccan scored both goals as QPR ended their long wait for a Premier League victory at the 17th attempt by beating Fulham 2-1. Taarabt's second goal was a memorable individual effort and QPR manager Harry Redknapp hailed his display as "one of the all-round great individual performances".

YAYA TOURE (Manchester City)
Toure was the driving force as City won 3-1 at Newcastle United to get their title defence back on track after defeat by Manchester United in the derby. The Ivorian's sweeping through-ball created Sergio Aguero's 10th-minute opener and he got on the score-sheet himself in the 78th minute when he
converted Pablo Zabaleta's low cross.

DEMBA BA (Newcastle Utd)
Newcastle may have slipped to within two points of the relegation zone after losing to City, but Ba continues to find the net with impressive regularity. The Senegal striker took his tally to 11 league goals when he beat City goalkeeper Joe Hart to head home in the 51st minute at St James' Park.

Benin midfielder Sessegnon created the consolation goal for Sunderland in their 3-1 defeat at Manchester United, standing up a left-wing cross for United old boy Fraizer Campbell to head in at the back post in the 72nd minute.

Togo striker Adebayor finished on the winning side as Spurs beat Swansea City 1-0 to move back into the top four, but he had to leave the fray in the 70th minute after apparently sustaining an ankle injury.

BLAISE MATUIDI (Paris Saint-Germain)

The France-born midfielder of Angolan parentage is the man of the moment for PSG with his first half injury-time header securing all the points against title rivals Lyon. Matuidi nodded in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's cross to score the only goal at the Parc des Princes for a win which was enough to take capital club top on goal difference from their visitors and Marseille.

M'Bengue was in hot water as Toulouse slumped to a 1-0 home loss against Marseille. The Senegalese was dismissed during the first half at the Stade Municipal after a lunge at Morgan Amalfitano after just 25 minutes. Franck Tabanou was also red-carded for a rash challenge from behind on Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew on the stroke of half-time.

The Moroccan midfielder was on target with the third goal - his sixth of the season - as reigning French champions Montpellier blasted Bastia 4-0. The win put the southerners into the top half of the table, nine points behind leaders PSG.

MANE DIOUF (Hanover 96)

Senegal striker claimed his sixth goal in 13 league games when he equalized for Hanover, but was powerless to prevent his team losing 2-1 at Fortuna Dusseldorf. Diouf scored on 69 minutes when he took the ball down off his chest and fired into the right-hand corner.

JOEL MATIP (Schalke 04)
The Cameroon centre-back was at fault for the 32nd-minute slip-up which put French midfielder Jonathan Schmid through to score Freiburg's second goal as Schalke lost 3-1 at home -- a result that led to the sacking of coach Huub Stevens.


Boateng put in a fairly modest performance for Milan as they went in search of their fifth consecutive league win, against lowly Pescara. The Ghanaian saw an attempt blocked in the first half and a shot from distance go high and wide later as the Rossoneri ran out 4-1 winners.

Asamoah was one of several Juventus players to come to nothing against Atalanta, but by then the Turin giants had virtually sealed a 3-0 win which gave them a seven-point lead over Inter Milan. Solid on the left wing, Asamoah is a regular for Antonio Conte now and will be missed when he goes to the
Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana.

Algerian Belfodil was in magnificent form for Parma as the hosts ran riot with a 4-1 win over Cagliari which moved the Duchy Men up to 10th place. Belfodil scored a brace of goals to take his tally for the season to five.


The Algerian midfielder made a few useful runs down the right wing for Valencia in a 1-0 loss against Rayo Vallecano but was unable to assert himself on a disappointing game in which his side generally lacked a cutting edge.

PAPE DIOP (Levante)
Levante won 1-0 at Zaragoza and Senegalese midfielder Diop was solid in midfield beside Vicente Iborra, helping to break up runs from Zaragoza, who have plenty of quality in midfield.

The Nigerian striker was a key player again for Levante against Zaragoza with his pace and movement in attack. Although he didn't score in the narrow win, he made a lot of dangerous runs and had several chances.
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