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IMAGE: Mohamed Salah has won the African Footballer of the Year for the last two years. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Liverpool pair Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, plus Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City, were named as the three candidates for this year’s African Footballer of the Year award, to be decided next month.
Senegal talisman Mane will be the favourite for the award ahead of his Egyptian club mate after Liverpool won the Champions League. However, he faces stiff opposition from Mahrez, who won the Premier League with City and also captained Algeria to the Africa Cup of Nations title in mid-year.
The nominees were named on Sunday after being selected by a panel of technical experts from the Confederation of African Football plus former players and media.
The coaches and captains of the 54 African national teams will now vote for the winner, to be announced on Jan. 7 at a ceremony at Hurgada in Egypt.
Salah has been African Footballer of the Year the last two years while Mahrez was the winner in 2016.
Sane was third in 2016 and runner-up to Salah the last two years.
Bayern strike late to beat Wolves
IMAGE: Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal against VfL Wolfsburg at Allianz Arena in Munich on Saturday. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters
Bayern Munich’s Joshua Zirkzee and Serge Gnabry scored late goals to give them a 2-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg at the start of the winter break on Saturday as RB Leipzig sealed the unofficial autumn champions title with a comeback victory over Augsburg.
Dutch teenager Zirkzee, who also netted in stoppage time in their 3-1 midweek win over Freiburg, scored with his first touch of the ball in the 85th minute.
He slotted in three minutes after coming on as a substitute for Philippe Coutinho and Gnabry doubled the lead in the 89th to lift Bayern to 33 points in third place.
“It was by no means our best game today,” Bayern interim coach Hansi Flick, whose future at the champions’ bench will be decided in the winter break, told reporters.
“Wolfsburg defended really well and closed all the spaces really well. I am just proud of the team. They deserved the victory just like they did in the previous few games. They believed in it until the end.”
Winners of the last seven league titles, the Bavarians were again wasteful with their chances in a one-sided first half, Coutinho, Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller all going close.
The hosts had to take off injured Javi Martinez before halftime but they again dominated after the break while proving ineffective in their finishing until the introduction of Zirkzee.
The teenager has quickly made a name for himself and, with the team’s injury list growing, could be in for more playing time after the break is completed in mid-January.
RB Leipzig went top with a 3-1 win at home to Augsburg, coming from a goal behind to clinch the three points and secure the autumn bragging rights for the first time in the club’s brief Bundesliga history.
Leipzig needed second-half goals from Konrad Laimer, Patrik Schick and Yussuf Poulsen to grab victory and move on to 37 points, two clear of Borussia Moenchengladbach, who only managed a point with a 0-0 draw at Hertha Berlin.
Schalke 04 remained in fifth place on 30 after their 2-2 draw against Freiburg while Bayer Leverkusen moved up to 28 and into sixth after ending
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