09/27/2014
 
 
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01/25/2014
 
Real Madrid moved clear at the top of La Liga for the first time since May 2012 thanks to a 2-0 win over Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring on 57 minutes, as set up by Luka Modric, he rifled home his 31st goal of the season. Karim Benzema sealed Los Blancos' ninth consecutive win 12 minutes from time when he slotted home Marcelo's low cross.

However, it was not a great afternoon for Gareth Bale as he was on the end of a rough challenge from Jeison Murillo early on and was eventually substituted at half-time. Madrid lead Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by two points, but both can move back to the top with wins over Malaga and Rayo Vallecano respectively on Sunday. The afternoon started in celebratory mood for the hosts as Ronaldo paraded the Ballon d'Or in front of the home fans.


Ronaldo nearly got off to a blistering start as he cut inside onto his right foot and blasted a shot wide of the target on six minutes. Bale was then involved in an unfortunate clash with Murillo as the Colombian clattered the Welshman between the legs and was booked. Manuel Iturra nearly gifted Madrid the opener moments later as he deflected Dani Carvajal's cross onto his own crossbar.


From the resulting corner, Sergio Ramos also should have given Carlo Ancelotti's men the lead as he headed over after Roberto had flapped at Angel di Maria's cross. After a bright start, though, Madrid's intensity dropped and it wasn't until first-half stoppage time that they threatened again as Roberto made a brilliant save to parry Ronaldo's sweetly struck overhead kick. Bale's unfortunate day continued as he was replaced by Jese Rodriguez at half-time.


Madrid's tempo was immediately lifted by the Spanish under-21 international and Roberto had to be alert to deny early efforts from Di Maria and Modric. The goal did finally arrive just before the hour mark as Ronaldo worked space for himself inside the area before firing a low left-footed shot beyond Roberto into the far corner.


Roberto did well to prevent Ronaldo doubling his tally with a low drive 10 minutes later and the Portuguese then saw a deflected free-kick come back off the bar. Madrid finally got the breathing space they craved on 78 minutes when a lovely move involving Ronaldo and Marcelo was finished off by Benzema for his fifth goal in his last six games.

 
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01/13/2014
 

Emmanuel Adebayor scored once again for Tottenham in England, but there was refereeing problems for Cheick Tiote at Newcastle and an injury setback for Guy Demel at West Ham.


Youssef El-Arabi scored for Granada in Spain and Pape Amodou Sougou hit the opener for Evian in France only to see his side lose 2-1 to Marseille.


African players in Germany and Russia were still inactive as the leagues there are still in their winter break.


ENGLAND


CHEICK TIOTE (Newcastle United)


Tiote found himself at the heart of the weekend's most controversial incident when he had a goal disallowed during his side's 2-0 loss at home to Manchester City. With the hosts a goal down, Tiote lashed a fine shot past City goalkeeper Joe Hart from the edge of the box, only for referee Mike Jones to spark a storm of protests by ruling the goal out for offside against Yoan Gouffran.


EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR (Tottenham Hotspur)


Togolese striker Adebayor continued his impressive recent form by setting up the opening goal in Spurs' 2-0 win at home to Crystal Palace. Early in the second half, he headed on Kyle Naughton's high ball into the path of Christian Eriksen, who took a touch before rifling the ball past visiting goalkeeper Julian Speroni.


GUY DEMEL (West Ham United)


Demel had to be given oxygen and was then stretchered off after injuring himself in a collision with team-mate Roger Johnson in the eighth minute of West Ham's 2-0 success at Cardiff City. Diagnosed with concussion, the Ivory Coast full-back spent Saturday night in hospital before being released on Sunday.


AHMED ELMOHAMADY (Hull City)


Egyptian winger Elmohamady made an enterprising start to his side's home game with Chelsea, beating opposition left-back Ashley Cole for pace on several occasions and testing goalkeeper Petr Cech with a long-range shot. However, he was to end up on the losing side in a 2-0 defeat.


SPAIN:


YOUSSEF EL-Arabi (Granada)


El-Arabi scored his seventh goal of the season as Granada hammered Valladolid 4-0 on Friday night to move into the top half of the table.


SOFIANE FEGHOULI (Valencia)


Feghouli teed up Dani Parejo to open the scoring for Valencia, but couldn't prevent Los Che falling to their first defeat under Juan Antonio Pizzi as two goals from Charles saw Celta Vigo win 2-1 at Balaidos.

The Algerian midfielder also came agonisingly close to snatching a point for his side in stoppage time as his his header came off the post and rebound to safety.


FRANCE


PAPE AMODOU SOUGOU (Evian) / SABER KHALIFA (Marseille)


On-loan Senegalese winger Sougou put home side Evian in front against his parent club Marseille only to lose 2-1 as the southerners moved back up to fifth place in the Ligue 1 table.

Both players featured prominently at the Parc des Sports, with Sougou meeting a left-wing corner to send a looping header over goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and into the net at the far post on 15 minutes.


ISMAEL BANGOURA (Nantes)


Guinean Bangoura scored as Nantes beat local rivals Lorient 1-0 at the Stade de la Beaujoire. It was his first goal for the club since May 2012 to seal the points with just a minute remaining.

Nantes are sixth after the win, and the impact of Bangoura was particularly welcome as he picked up a shot from Filip Djordjevic.


WARIS MAJEED/CARL MEDJANI (Valenciennes)


Ghanaian forward Waris Majeed boosted his World Cup hopes as he netted on his debut to give Valenciennes a much-needed 3-2 home win against Bastia.

Majeed, 22, moved on loan from Spartak Moscow until the end of the season in a bid to seal a berth in Brazil, and he staked his claim by scoring the third goal on 55 minutes.


ITALY


KWADWO ASAMOAH (Juventus)


Asamoah last week responded in the negative to speculation on a possible departure from Juve and put in a workmanlike performance for the champions on their way to a 4-1 win away at Cagliari. The Ghanaian provided a cross for Stephan Lichsteiner on the stroke of half-time which the Swiss international shot high.


RAMAN CHIBSAH (Sassuolo)


Barely 10 minutes into Milan's visito to Sassuolo fingers were being pointed at Chibsah when he lost possession in his own half under pressure from two Milan players (Nigel De Jong and Bryan Cristante), leading to Robinho's opener for the Serie A giants. Chibsah and the rest of his side would have the last laugh, however, after teammate Domenico Berardi hit four goals to stun Milan in a 4-3 home win.


 
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