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Africa Cup of Nations hero Simon Adingra marked his return from international duty with Ivory Coast by scoring twice in a match for the first time in his senior career, capping a remarkable fortnight for the Brighton youngster.

Ivory Coast teammate Oumar Diakité was also among the goals, scoring for the first time since his unforgettable intervention against Mali, and Jordan Ayew paid an emotional tribute to former Crystal Palace coach Roy Hodgson as the Eagles travelled to Everton.

Ahead of Saturday's meeting with Sheffield United in the English Premier League, Adingra received a hero's welcome back to the Amex Arena. He was given a guard of honour by his Brighton & Hove Albion teammates on Friday, when he was draped in the Ivorian flag, and greeted club supporters who had been allowed in to the ground to celebrate the youngster's achievement.

Adingra wasn't in former Ivory Coast manager Jean Louis Gasset's starting XI at the commencement of the Africa Cup of Nations, but he became one of the key protagonists as the Elephants completed an unthinkable tournament run for replacement head coach Emerse Faé.

The 22-year-old, who had five international caps before the AFCON kicked off, netted the late equaliser to keep the hosts alive vs. Mali in the quarterfinals, forced his way into the starting XI, and registered both assists as the Ivorians came from behind to defeat Nigeria in the final.

He was duly named Young Player of the Year by the Confederation of African Football, and described the final as "one of the most beautiful moments" of his life.

"The tournament was in my country, so it was very special for me and for my family also," Adingra told Brighton's official media handle. "It was crazy, because from the beginning we were almost out of the tournament but we were able to come back and win the trophy. That was special."

Adingra vowed to show Seagulls fans what he could do, in light of his stock rising on home soil, and he didn't disappoint against the Blades.

Brighton were already 3-0 up, with the game comfortably won, when Adingra added some extra shine to the result.

He was lively on Brighton's right flank throughout -- attempting nine crosses -- and added the fourth goal after he was picked out by Pascal Groß with 12 minutes to play.

He then scored Brighton's fifth goal, in the 85th minute, with a shot that took a significant deflection to complete the rout.

Adingra has scored six goals for Brighton this season -- five off his league return in 2022-23 with Union St.-Gilloise in Belgium -- and only five African players have scored more in the Premier League this season.

"This is my first [brace] since I started my career, so I'm so happy and hopefully there's more to come," Adingra said. "It's been good.

"I came from Africa as an African champion, then I scored two goals. I can't imagine more than that."

Brighton are seventh in the Premier League standings, six points behind Manchester United in sixth, but Adingra, fuelled by self-belief after the Nations Cup, is confident the Seagulls can secure UEFA Champions League qualification.

"We lost our last game against Tottenham Hotspur, so the target was to win to get our confidence back," he said. "The plan is top five. It's not going to be easy, but anything can happen."

There were no end-of-tournament awards for Diakité after the Nations Cup, although no Ivorian who witnessed the Elephants' quarterfinal with Mali will forget the 20-year-old's late intervention.

Diakité's heel flick sent the ball beyond Mali keeper Djigui Diarra in the 122nd minute of the West African showdown, ensuring the hosts advanced after playing with 10 men for more than 75 minutes.

He celebrated his winner by removing his shirt, promptly receiving a second yellow card and being suspended for the semifinal victory over Congo DR.

Like Adingra, he received a special welcome back to his club side -- Stade de Reims -- with the whole team greeting him with a surprise party, decked out in the Ivorian colours, as he returned to training.

The forward also emulated the Brighton man by netting upon his return to club action, arriving at the near post to open the scoring for Reims as they drew 1-1 at home with Lens in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

"Everyone's still so happy," Diakité told ESPN, reflecting on the Elephants' run in the Nations Cup. "We started off so poorly, everyone insulted us, we continued to work, didn't lose concentration, didn't turn our backs [on the nation], and received the fruit of our work."

Ayew endured a Nations Cup to forget, as his Ghana side were dumped out in the group stage for the second consecutive AFCON.

He forward scored twice for the Black Stars in their ill-fated 2-2 draw with Mozambique, but hadn't netted in five Crystal Palace outings before opening the scoring in their 1-1 draw at Everton on Monday.

Palace entered the match in some disarray, with Roy Hodgson announcing his exit in the hours before the match, and the Eagles confirming Oliver Glasner as his replacement.

Ayew, keen to give Hodgson a memorable send-off, scored one of his finest goals in the English game with a thumping drive beyond Jordan Pickford after he was picked out by Jean-Philippe Mateta.

"It's not been easy, a lot of emotions, a lot of things said, a lot of things happening," Ayew told BBC Sport. "I can't thank [Hodgson] enough, he's made me who I am today, as a player, as a man.

"I came to this football club because he decided to bring me in, and he's been so influential in my career, I can't thank him enough.

"I spoke to him before the game, and he's a father figure for me -- there's no doubt about that -- I hope he recovers as soon as possible."

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Never the most prolific, Ayew has added a new dimension to his game this season, albeit during a testing campaign for Palace.

The five assists he registered under Hodgson equalled his career best, and he has had a direct hand in more goals this season than at any time since 2019-20.

Also in the Premier League, Mohamed Salah marked his return to action after the injury sustained at AFCON by scoring in Liverpool's 4-1 victory at Brentford.

The Egypt forward was named among the substitutes by Jurgen Klopp after the injury he suffered on Jan. 18, but he was called into action in the 44th minute after an injury to Diogo Jota.

He assisted Alexis Mac Allister 11 minutes later before adding the Reds' third goal after fine work by Cody Gakpo.

Salah is 10th in the all-time Premier League scoring charts, with 154 goals.

Dominic Solanke, Taiwo Awoniyi and Antoine Semenyo were also among the scorers in the English top flight last weekend.