Teams: SPORTING CP & Portugal NT
African players in Europe
by Timothy Collings in London
Tottenham Hotspur's Ivorian midfielder Didier Zokora was accused of cheating by Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp after earning a controversial penalty on Sunday.
African players played prominent roles again for their clubs in Europe's soccer leagues but none more than Zokora, whose dive won Tottenham a penalty kick against Portsmouth in the 2-1 home win.
Striker Jermaine Defoe struck the 35th minute spot-kick to put Tottenham into a two-goal lead but video replays show that Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes had made no contact with Zokora when he went in for the challenge.
Nigerian striker Nwankwo Kanu struck for Portsmouth, but he was unable to save a point as they slipped down the table.
Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba scored his eighth goal of the season for champions Chelsea but it was not enough to secure victory against Aston Villa.
As his strike partner Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko continued to struggle following his transfer from AC Milan, Drogba struck after three minutes but the visitors hit back with a goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor to secure a 1-1 draw.
The dropped points meant Chelsea, who also fielded Soloman Kalou of the Ivory Coast, Geremi of Cameroon and Michael Essien of Ghana, were replaced at the top of the English league by Manchester United after Alex Ferguson's side defeated Newcastle 2-0 on Sunday.
Arsenal maintained their improved form with a third win in succession thanks to solid defensive work of two more Ivory Coast internationals Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure as they beat Charlton Athletic 2-1.
That win lifted Arsenal up to eighth and helped to prove that African defenders are as valuable to the leading clubs as African strikers.
This was endorsed by the efforts of two more Africans, Senegalese defender Abdoulaye Faye and Abdoulaye Meite of the Ivory Coast, who played major roles for Bolton Wanderers in a 2-0 win against Liverpool.
Another African on the scoresheet was South African striker Benni McCarthy who hit an 81st minute winner as Blackburn Rovers beat local rivals Wigan Athletic 2-1. The Blackburn team also included his compatriot Aaron Makoena.
In Spain, Mali international Mahamadou Diarra, who scored his first goal for his new club Real Madrid the previous weekend, endured a frustrating evening as they were held 1-1 by city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona demonstrated that they will not miss long-term injury victim and frequent match-winning striker Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon by winning 3-1 at Bilbao.
Barcelona lost Eto'o, their top scorer, last Wednesday during a drawn UEFA Champions League group game at Werder Bremen. He is expected to be out for five months with a knee injury.
Barcelona are top of the Primera Liga with 13 points, level with Valencia. Sevilla, who beat Getafe 1-0, are third, a point behind the top two.
Sevilla's victorious team included Mali striker Frederic Kanoute, who played despite carrying an injury.
Elsewhere in Spain, Espanyol's Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni shut out Osasuna in a 0-0 draw.
In Germany, Nuremberg had their Tunisian defender Jawher Mnari sent off in the first half during a 1-1 draw with Mainz. Nuremberg lie second in the Bundesliga, one of five teams on 10 points.
South Africa international Sibusiso Zuma returned after five months out with injury to score for Arminia Bielefeld against Energie Cottbus in a 3-1 win while Ivory Coast striker Boubacar Sanogo hit Hamburg's equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. Hamburg are still without a win.
In France, Olympique Marseille beat Toulouse 3-0 to stay in second place in Ligue 1, three points behind leader Olympique Lyon.
Their first goal was scored by Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo. Mamadou Niang and Habib Beye, both of Senegal, and Cameroon midfielder Modeste M'Bami, also played for Marseille.
Senegalese defender Pape Malikou Diakhate played in Nancy's 2-1 win over Racing Lens. This win moved the side into third.
In Italy, Livorno's Ivory Coast player Ibrahima Bakayoko was in the team that won only their second game of the season after a 1-0 success over Messina.
Bakayoko put in a low cross on 76 minutes that was scored by Tomas Danilevicius.
Lazio midfielder Christian Manfredini, of the Ivory Coast, played in his side's 4-0 win at Torino.
Lazio stay near the foot of the Serie A table, on minus two points, following their eight-point penalty for match-fixing.
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”