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Frustrating start for Africans in England

sports Updated: Aug 15, 2011 16:39 IST

The opening weekend of the English Premier League season proved frustrating for African stars with Gervinho red carded, Asamoah Gyan injured and Didier Drogba failing to win a starting place.

But there was success in France with Andre Ayew and Jonathan Pitroipa on target in drawn Ligue 1 games while Saber Khalifa struck the winner for promoted Evian, a city best known for its mineral water.

There are few more consistent goal poachers in Europe than Papiss Cisse, although celebrations of a stoppage-time goal were muted as Freiburg lost at home in the Bundesliga.

Gervinho (Arsenal)
The Ivory Coast forward was sent off on his Arsenal debut after slapping Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton in a 0-0 draw at St James' Park.

Gervinho -- a £10 million signing from Lille -- lost his temper in the 76th minute after being dragged to his feet by Barton, who felt the Gunners star had dived in a failed attempt to win a penalty.

Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
The Ivory Coast striker was left out of the starting line-up by new Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas as his side were held 0-0 at Stoke.

Villas-Boas opted to start with Fernando Torres instead of Drogba, who was eventually introduced in the 75th minute as a replacement for compatriot Salomon Kalou but couldn't help the Blues clinch victory.

Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland)
The Ghana striker suffered an ankle injury in Sunderland's 1-1 draw at big-spending Liverpool.

Gyan fell awkwardly in the second half and had to be replaced by South Korean striker Ji Dong-Won in the 66th minute. It is not yet known if Gyan will out of action for a lengthy period.

Jonathan Pitroipa (Rennes)
The 25-year-old Burkina Faso striker, signed for 3.5 million euros from Hamburg in the summer, opened his Rennes account with a last-minute goal in a 1-1 draw at home to big-spending Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG took the lead when Kevin Gameiro scored in the 73rd minute, before Pitroipa broke away and fired beyond goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

Andre Ayew (Marseille)
Ghanaian star Ayew, the son of African legend Abedi Pele, has been linked with a move to Arsenal when Cesc Fabregas leaves the Gunnners for Barcelona.

Ayew headed home from Mathieu Valbuena's corner just before half-time after Loic Remy had hit Marseille's first against Auxerre. But the home side hit back in the second half for a 2-2 draw.

Saber Khalifa (Evian)
Tunisian 24-year-old Khalifa, signed on a three-year deal from Esperance, scored the only goal of the game in the 51st minute to give newly-promoted Evian their first Ligue 1 victory, a 1-0 win against Nice.

Isaac Vorsah, Chinedu Obasi (Hoffenheim)
Ghana defender Vorsah and Nigeria striker Obasi played in Hoffenheim's shock 1-0 win over defending champions Borussia Dortmund.

Obasi picked up a yellow card, while dogged defending from Vorsah frustrated the guests as Bosnia midfielder Sejad Salihovic's first-half free-kick gave Hoffenheim the three points.

Sofian Chahed (Hanover 96)
The Tunisia midfielder played well and provided the final pass for striker Mohammed Abdellaoue to open the scoring in Hanover's 2-1 win over Nuremberg -- their second consecutive win of the Bundesliga season.

Papiss Cisse (Freiburg)
The Senegal striker scored his second goal in as many weeks in Freiburg's 2-1 defeat at home to Mainz, but his stoppage-time strike proved to be no more than a consolation effort.