Africans Abroad: Heartbreak for PSG's Choupo-Moting, Europa joy for Bounou

As the 2019-20 season came to a thrilling conclusion with the Champions League and Europa League finals -- and mixed fortunes for Africa's players involved -- the first of Europe's major leagues kicked off for the new season, as Ligue 1's Africans began their campaigns across France.

No fairytale ending for Choupo-Moting, Gueye

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's hopes of becoming the fourth Cameroonian player to win the Champions League ended in disappointment on Sunday, as the forward came off the bench in Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 final defeat by Bayern Munich.

The margin between success and victory has rarely been so fine in the UCL when Bayern have been involved this season, but Kingsley Coman's superb header was all that separated the sides... on the scoreboard at least... in Sunday's finale.

The defeat draws to a close a memorable fortnight for Choupo-Moting, who was the unlikely hero against Atalanta in the quarterfinal as he came off the bench to net a 92nd-minute winner after being set up by Kylian Mbappe.

On that occasion, Thomas Tuchel had turned to the Cameroon skipper with 11 minutes on the clock as he looked to improve his side's fortunes, and on Sunday, Choupo-Moting entered in the 80th minute as PSG sought a winner, with the German coach again seeking some inspiration from his much maligned frontman.

Largely, however, Bayern kept the Parisians at arm's length, with the forward mustering just two touches and one shot (off target) during his brief cameo.

The Central Africans' key contribution was to spurn a decent opportunity when he failed to pick out an excellent Julian Draxler run to his right during the dying stages.

The defeated extinguished his chances of following in the footsteps of compatriots Samuel Eto'o, Geremi Njita,p and 2019 champion Joel Matip -- for this season at least -- and probably draws a line under his time at PSG.

While his contract, which was due to end at the beginning of July, was extended until August 31st, it remains to be seen whether he will be offered a further stay in the French capital.

While any departure wouldn't be on a 'high', the 31-year-old has at least been responsible for one of the great moments in PSG's history -- that last-gasp intervention against the Italians -- and finally came good after a mixed spell at the Parc des Princes, the highlight (or lowlight) of which had previously been that baffling miss against Strasbourg in April 2019.

While Choupo-Moting at least has that winner against Atalanta to look back on, the 'Final Eight' tournament has been a miserable experience for Idrissa Gueye.

A £30 million signing from Everton last summer, the Senegal international was insipid in the quarter against Atalanta -- PSG notably improved after his 72nd-minute withdrawal -- and picked up a muscle injury in training later that week to rule him out of the semifinal victory over RasenBallsport Leipzig.

Tuchel told journalists on Saturday that the West African was available for the final having trained without any problems for the previous days, but ultimately opted not to start him against Bayern.

The decision he took -- to stick with Marquinhos, Leandro Paredes and Ander Herrera -- made sense following their commanding display against Leipzig.

However, it could have also been an option to have turned to either Marco Verratti or Gueye - themselves usually enjoying an excellent partnership -- to offer deep-lying creativity and rugged dynamism respectively.

So while Verratti was introduced as a 64th-minute substitute, Gueye was overlooked, although he was visible - sat in the dug-out, head in hands, as the minutes ebbed away.

He ends his maiden season in Paris with a league winner's medal, and while he has impressed in some Champions League outings, doubts persist about his ability to use the ball inventively and his capacity to cope with opposition pressing at the elite end of the European game.

For Bayern, while their starting defence contained Jerome Boateng, born to a German father, and Alphonso Davies, born in Ghana to Liberian parents, there would be no appearance for unused substitute Joshua Zirkzee, eligible for Nigeria via his mother.

Morocco delight in Europa League

While the continent's stars fell short in their pursuit of Champions League glory, there was some joy for the continent's stars in the Europa League as Morocco duo Yassine Bounou and Youssef En-Nesyri played in Sevilla's 3-2 final victory over Internazionale.

Having been in imperious form in previous victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United, Bounou could do little about Romelu Lukaku's early penalty, although he may feel he ought to have got something on Diego Godin's header.

The North African was influential in Sevilla's sixth title, however, when he blocked the Belgium forward after the break as Lukaku bore down on goal.

En-Nesyri, a January signing from Leganes, was given the final five minutes after being dropped for two-goal Luuk de Jong, while another substitute, Nigeria's Victor Moses, fell short in his bid to win the Europa League seven years after clinching it with Chelsea.

Ligue 1 resumes without PSG

While Paris concentrated on their ill-fated European exploits, the rest of the Ligue 1 cast returned to action across France, with many of L'Hexagone's African-origin stars enjoying a strong start to the 2020-21 campaign.

The rest of Europe's major leagues returned to action to conclude last season following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Ligue 1 opted to wrap up the 2019-20 campaign prematurely, meaning 17 of the league's 20 teams haven't had any competitive action since March.

There was some rustiness on display over the weekend, but not from Angers centre-back Ismael Traore, who scored the only goal of the game as the Scoistes began their new season with a 1-0 victory at Dijon.

The defender netted the first goal of the new season -- and his first since October 2018 -- when he reacted to quickest to a Sada Thioub effort that cracked back off the post.

Defensively, the Angers skipper was on song as well, making four clearances throughout the contest and limiting the hosts to hopeful efforts.

Senegal's Thioub was lively, almost setting up Franco-Ivorian Angelo Fulgini just after the hour-mark, while Abdoulaye Bamba also impressed at right-back for the visitors.

As Bordeaux and Nantes drew 0-0 in the league's opener on Friday evening, two Nigerians caught the eye, with former Sunderland forward Josh Maja leading the line for Les Girondins, and Moses Simon in action down the visitors' left flank.

Bordeaux were reduced to 10 men after the 20th-minute dismissal of Mehdi Zerkane, and while the Canaries failed to capitalise, Simon was lively -- creating one goalscoring opportunity and striking a fine rapport with left-back Charles Traore.

Elsewhere, Franco-Algerian forward Amine Gouiri became the youngest ever OGC Nice player to score twice on his debut when he netted in their come-from-behind victory over newly promoted Lens, cancelling out Gael Kakuta's 11th-minute opener for the visitors.

Only Mario Balotelli has previously netted twice on his debut for the club of the Riviera, but 20-year-old Gouiri -- a €7 million summer signing from Lyon -- eclipsed that record in some style.

In Nimes, Moussa Kone and Kevin Denkey were among the goals as Brest were defeated 4-0, while Yoane Wissa scored in FC Lorient's 3-1 victory over Strasbourg, and Axel Disasi marked his AS Monaco debut with their first in a 2-2 draw with his former club Stade de Reims.