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Football | Africa

Steven Pienaar © Action Images

Pienaar prompts fail to sink Swans



Former South Africa captain Steven Pienaar set up several chances that were wasted as Everton could only draw 0-0 at home to Swansea at the weekend in the English Premier League.

Midfielder Pienaar quit international football last year, citing the physical demands of serving club and country, and his creativity has been sorely mised by goal-shy Bafana Bafana (The Boys) in Africa Cup of Nations warm-ups.

The tournaments kicks off Saturday and the final appearance for Tottenham of Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor before travelling to South Africa was frustrating with a superb Julio Cesar save foiling him in a 0-0 stalemate.

ENGLAND

EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Togo striker suffered a frustrating match during a goalless draw with QPR in his final Spurs appearance before heading to the Africa Cup. Saw his follow-up shot after Jermain Defoe's 20-yard drive was tipped against the post saved superbly by Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

STEPHANE SESSEGNON (Sunderland)

The Benin midfielder played his part as the Black Cats beat West Ham 3-0 to move six points clear of the Premier League's bottom three. He nearly made it 2-0 for Sunderland in the 26th minute when he burst through the Hammers defence only to shoot wide. His subsequent break and pass to James McClean did lead to a second Sunderland goal for Adam Johnson.

STEVEN PIENAAR (Everton)

For all the South Africa midfielder's prompting, Everton were unable to find a way through in a 0-0 stalemate with Swansea. His ninth-minute cross was turned the wrong side of the post by Nikica Jelavic and later he nearly played his teammate through again only for the Swans' defence to hold firm.

DEMBA BA (Chelsea)

The Senegal striker's rising status with the European champions was reflected in interim manager Rafael Benitez's decision to give him a first start for the Blues, in preference to Fernando Torres, away to Stoke. But nearly two years to the day since Stoke turned down the chance to sign him because of concerns over a medical, he couldn't get on the scoresheet in a 4-0 win.

FRANCE

JORDAN AYEW (Marseille)

Marseille's Ghanaian international forward Jordan was on the scoresheet at Sochaux but could not prevent a 3-1 loss which stopped his side going joint top of Ligue 1 with Lyon. Ayew fired in a neat strike early in the second half, but by then Marseille were already 3-0 down in the snow as they remained stuck in third spot, one point behind Paris Saint-Germain after a sixth loss of the season.

SAMUEL UMTITI (Lyon)

Lyon's Cameroon-born defender Umtiti, a 19-year-old from Yaounde, scored his first Ligue 1 goal, netting at the second attempt following a corner from Arnold Mvuemba in a 2-1 win at Troyes. Umtiti, a France under20 starlet who only made his debut a year ago, has started to hold down a regular place recently following injury problems for Croat Dejan Lovren.

ITALY

KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG (AC Milan)

Boateng came close to giving Milan a much-needed opener against Sampdoria when his attempted shot from a Bojan pass across goal was blocked by a defender. A frustrating performance all-round for the Rossoneri, who played out a goalless draw in Genoa and missed the chance to leapfrog Roma into sixth.

ISHAK BELFODIL (Parma)

Belfodil has been putting in some solid performances for Parma lately, and came close at least twice to breaking the deadlock in a spirited performance at home to Juventus. Parma's efforts held Juve to a 1-1 draw, allowing Lazio to close the gap in second to three points.

SPAIN

LASS BANGOURA (Rayo Vallecano)

Guinean midfielder Bangoura got the first goal for Rayo Vallecano in their surprise 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao. For Lass, it was only his second goal of a season in which he has not featured as much as he would have wished.

PAPA DIOP/OBAFEMI MARTINS (Levante)

Sengalese midfielder Diop and Nigerian striker Martins featured for Levante in their 2-0 defeat at Real Betis. Diop played the full game and picked up a yellow card, while Martins came on at halftime for the Valencia-based club.

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