Gana boosts Everton survival hopes, Akinsanmiro clinches Serie A

Idrissa Gueye maintained Everton's hopes of English Premier league survival. Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

If Everton do succeed in evading relegation from the Premier League this season, they won't forget the importance of Idrissa Gana Gueye's opening goal in this weekend's six-pointer against Nottingham Forest.

Elsewhere, wonderkid Ebenezer Akinsanmiro became the latest Nigerian player to win a Serie A title after Internazionale beat AC Milan in Monday's derby, while Faris Moumbagna silenced the doubters with a stunning overhead kick to snatch a 95th-minute draw for Olympique de Marseille at Toulouse.

Amidst the post-match controversy that's surrounded the VAR performance in Nottingham Forest's 2-0 defeat by Everton, the impact the three points have had on the Toffees' hopes of beating the drop have been partly overlooked.

Yet the Merseysiders have Gueye to thank for inspiring them to a victory that takes them five points clear of the dropzone having played one game fewer than Luton Town in 18th.

It would have been a different story had Gana not settled a few first-half nerves around Goodison Park with an 29th-minute opener that set the hosts on their way to a 2-0 victory that wasn't as comfortable as it may first appear.

The home fans had quickly -- and predictably -- begun to get impatient and frustrated with Everton's inefficiency in possession before the ball dropped so kindly for Gueye just before the half-hour mark.

We've seen the Senegal international take rasping shots from such range -- 25 yards out -- before in his career, although rarely has such an unconvincing effort as this managed to nestle in the back of the net.

Meeting the ball after Vitaliy Mykolenko's cross had been headed down into his path by Murillo, Gueye took a touch, set himself, and sent the ball towards Mats Sels' post. Somehow, the strike - lacking the conviction that the former Paris Saint-Germain man typically puts into his Goodison Park showings -- proved too much for the Belgium stopper and crept in off the post.

This was only Gueye's second goal from 100 shots outside the penalty box during his six seasons in the Premier League, and it capped off a fine display in which he succeeded with 89.5 percent of his passes (more than any of his teammates) and also registered more tackles and as many interceptions as any other Everton player.

Certainly, Gueye appeared to respond positively to Sean Dyche's strong words for his squad after their 6-0 Monday evening humbling by Chelsea, although surely, this is not what the west African midfielder anticipated for his return to Goodison Park in 2022.

A Champions League finalist with PSG as recently as 2020, and a domestic treble winner in France in that same season, Gana ultimately swapped the capital for consecutive relegation dogfights with the People's Club. At least he appears well placed to avoid the drop this year, having previously finished in the bottom three with Aston Villa in 2016.

As Forest grew increasingly aggrieved with a series of non-penalty decisions that they felt ought to have gone their way, Mali's Abdoulaye Doucoure set up Dwight McNeil for Everton's second, to take them out of sight of the Tricky Trees on the day.

For the impressive Ola Aina and his teammates, the upcoming visit of Manchester City on Sunday offers little encouragement that they will be able to put further distance between themselves and the bottom three any time soon.

Inter fans' wild celebration in shadow of Milan cathedral

Inter Milan fans spill out onto the streets to celebrate their club's 20th Serie A title.

It was a testing weekend for Gueye's Senegal teammate Nicolas Jackson, who missed a series of fine chances as Chelsea were defeated by Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinal.

Summing up a frustrating debut season in England, Jackson impressed with his off-the-ball running, intelligent movement and athleticism, but was utterly let down by his instincts and finishing in front of goal.

All three of his attempts on goal were on target, but on each occasion, he was denied by a combination of Stefan Ortega and his own hesitancy.

Nonetheless, Jackson's predecessor at Stamford Bridge -- Didier Drogba -- has continued to show his support for the West African, taking to social media on Monday to offer words of encouragement for the ex-Villarreal man.

"Keep your head high up and never stop working hard," the Blues legend wrote on his @didierdrogba handle, accompanied by two photos of Jackson. "It will pay off."

Also in Premier League action, Dominic Solanke netted from the penalty spot -- albeit in a losing effort -- as Bournemouth fell 3-1 to Aston Villa.

It extends his personal best for goals scored in a top flight season, moving him fourth in the top flight's scoring charts, behind Cole Palmer, Erling Haaland and Ollie Watkins.

After the match, Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola compared the Super Eagles-eligible forward to his Villa counterpart Watkins, with the duo increasingly appearing in contention for England squad berths, in support of Harry Kane, at this summer's European Championships.

"I compare [Watkins] a little bit like Dom with us, what they give us," said Iraola. "The goals, the numbers, but they give a lot more, and I'm sure if you ask Unai [Emery], he will have the same opinion."

Solanke has the opportunity to extend his fine form when Bournemouth travel to Wolves on Wednesday.

In Serie A on Monday, Inter Milan defeated AC Milan 2-1 to clinch their 20th Scudetto and their first since 2021.

While Samuel Chukwueze featured for Milan on the night, coming on for the final 22 minutes of this ill-tempered derby, it's his compatriot -- Akinsanmiro -- who becomes the latest Nigerian player to get his hands on a Serie A winner's medal.

The 19-year-old, who earned his stripes with NPFL side Remo Stars, made the move to Italy last year, and has since been excelling for Inter's U-19 side.

He was an unused substitute a year ago as Inter defeated Fiorentina to win the Coppa Italia, and then made his debut for the seniors in February, entering as a 76th-minute substitute in the 4-0 thumping of Lecce.

The teenager follows in the footsteps of Nwankwo Kanu, Victor Moses, Obafemi Martins and Taribo West in extending the Nerazzurri's fine lineage of Nigerian players, and he becomes the first Nigerian since Victor Osimhen with Napoli last year to clinch the Italian crown.

Finally to France, where after a difficult start to life at OM, Moumbagna appears to finally be finding his feet under Jean-Louis Gasset, netting the African goal of the weekend to salvage a late point against Toulouse on Sunday.

Once mooted as a potential partner for Haaland with the Norway national team, Moumbagna excelled with Bodo/Glimt and was also a late arrival in Cameroon's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

His form prompted interest from Marseille, but after signing for Les Phoceens in a €8 million deal, the piano-playing frontman has found the going tough, prompting some criticism from portions of the Marseille fanbase.

Before last week, he'd found the net twice in 12 outings for OM, but came off the bench to score a 79th-minute winner against Benfica on Thursday -- Marseille ultimately prevailed on penalties -- before again thriving in the 'super sub' role on Sunday.

Entering against Toulouse as a 59th-minute replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Moumbagna netted a stunning overhead kick from 12 yards out in the fifth minute of stoppage time to rescue a point for the visitors.

It was a moment of sublime agility and pure inspiration from the frontman, as he evaded the close attentions of a defender, and sent a powerful bicycle strike into the far corner of the net.

"I know what I can do, and I'm at the disposition of the coach whenever he needs me," Moumbagna said after the match. "For all the rest [the criticism], I don't pay any attention."