ROUND-UP: Africans in the Football League
The Championship provided the only action in the Football League this weekend, as Leagues One and Two began their FA Cup campaigns.
Moses Odubajo missed an effort after 13 minutes, from a headed Ahmed Elmohamady pass, before the latter’s 35-yard drive was blocked in an exciting first-half display by Hull, against Middlesbrough. Another cross from the Egyptian, late in the first half, was met by Mohamed Diame to give the Tigers the lead at home to Boro. Elmohamady was in great form and again provided the assist for Hull’s third and final goal with eight minutes to go, while Odubajo missed a chance into the dying moments of the match, as Hull beat fellow promotion contenders Boro 3-0.
Jacques Maghoma set up two of Birmingham’s five goals in a 5-2 rout away to Fulham, who subsequently sacked their boss Kit Simons. Viv Solomon-Otabor was introduced with 20 minutes to go, adding the Blues’ fifth deep into added time, to score his first league goal. Demarai Gray was also important in the visitors’ victory, seeing one saved and another missed in the first ten minutes, while going close into first-half stoppage time. Gray continued in similar fashion in the second half, but couldn’t find the net.
Carl Ikeme returned for Wolves due to an injury picked up by first-choice Emiliano Martinez in their 0-0 draw with Burnley, as a second-half substitute. Sheyi Ojo missed an early second-half chance, while Benik Afobe saw a first-half effort saved and squandered several opportunities in the second half, as Tendayi Darikwa’s Clarets kept the DR Congo man at bay.
Idriss Saadi went close to a dream start with the potential of a debut goal for Cardiff City in their 2-0 home victory over Reading. Ali Al-Habsi though, was to deny the Algerian on this occasion.
Sol Bamba and Jordan Botaka were both introduced for Leeds United away to Huddersfield Town in the Yorkshire derby. The latter coming on with eight minutes remaining with immediate impact, seeing his effort saved, but all ended well for the visitors who defeated the Terriers 3-0.
Hope Akpan had a late effort saved as Blackburn Rovers drew 1-1 at home to Brentford, while Toumani Diagouraga started for the Bees.
Nedum Onuoha missed a header after a minute for QPR, but couldn’t find the net at home to Preston North End, with it being the only goalless game in the Championship.
Kevin Bru provided the cross after seven minutes, for Brett Pitman to give Ipswich Town the lead at Rotherham, as the Tractor Boys went on to win 5-2.