© Pranav Desai (Sportz Interactive), Nov 02, 2010

Peek of the Week: 10

© AP Images
Moment of the Week: No guess work required here. Nani’s contentious goal on Saturday assured Manchester United of a 2-0 home win against Tottenham. The Red Devils secured the lead in the first half through a Nemanjia Vidic header in the 31st minute before the Portuguese winger’s penalty appeal was overruled in the dying moments of the game. The 23-year-old then appeared to have handled the ball while lying down on the field. The Spurs’ goalkeeper Gomes lined up for what he believed to be a free kick. The United number 17 nipped in front of the Brazilian and jabbed the ball into the empty net. The goal was initially ruled out by the referee’s assistant amidst protests from the home team. However since the referee Mark Clattenburg never blew the whistle he overturned his assistant’s decision leading to furious protests from the visitors. The goal stood and Sir Alex Ferguson’s side emerged victorious making it 3 wins in as many games.

© AP Images

Player of the Week: Cristiano Ronaldo continued his duel with Lionel Messi by scoring a brace against Hercules in the last eight minutes of the game to give Real Madrid a 3-1 win at the Jose Rico Perez stadium on Saturday, an effort worthy of making him our top player of the week. The home side took the lead as early as three minutes through a David Trezeguet header before Angel di Maria volleyed past the Hercules custodian in the 53rd minute to bring the game back on level terms. The Los Balncos took the game by its neck in the second half pressing forward and that eventually paid off when Ronaldo put the thirty one-time La Liga champions in the lead eight minutes from the stroke of the whistle. He then doubled the lead with his league leading twelfth goal in the 86th minute to put the game beyond doubt and almost scored the hat-trick but the shot was too high.

© AP Images

Story of the Week: Juventus caused a huge upset in the Serie A on Saturday as the defeated AC Milan 2-1 at the San Siro. Milan started the match strongly in a bid to gain some confidence ahead of its crucial Champions League fixture at home against Jose Mourinho’s side. Ibrahimovic came close in the seventh minute and then set one up for Pato but Juventus’ man between the sticks was up to the task. Fabio Quagriella put the Turin side in the lead in the 24th minute while its prolific striker Alessandro del Pierro doubled the lead in the second half to stun the home fans. The Rossoneri’s Swedish striker pulled one back but Juventus held on to the lead to close the gap to seven points from leaders Lazio in the league. This outing seriously dented Milan’s preparations prior to their encounter against the La Liga leaders on Wednesday making it our top story of the week.

© AP Images

Match of the Week: Kevin Nolan’s hat-trick against Sunderland gave his side an enthralling 5-1 win over their city rivals in the Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday. The Black Cats had the home team under pressure early on with Titus Bramble heading a corner wide and midfielder Jordan Henderson rifling a 30-yard strike over the bar. The Magpies’ skipper broke the deadlock in the 26th minute by hooking an overhead kick into the roof of the net from six yards out and doubled the lead eight minutes later as he stroked the ball past Simon Mignolet. Steve Bruce was then forced to bring on his recent signing Asamoah Gyan in a bid to get back in the game. However all hopes of a comeback suffered a huge blow when Nedum Onuoha was found guilty of bringing down Jonas Gutierrez inside the penalty area. The referee pointed to the spot and Shola Ameobi made no mistake as he converted from the resulting spot kick to make it 3-0 for the home side at the end of the first-half. Their chances were dented further after the break when former Newcastle defender Bramble received his marching orders for a foul on Carroll. Ameobi scored his second after the break when he slammed the ball into the back of the net after Andy Carroll’s header rebounded off the bar in the 70th minute and five minutes later the Toon’s skipper completed his hat-trick by nodding home from a yard out after Ameobi glanced the outswinging corner across the face of the goal. The match truly over by then and Darren Bent’s effort in the 90th minute proved to be nothing but a mere consolation for Sunderland.

Hercules 1 – 3 Real Madrid
Peek-o-meter: 10/10

Real Madrid faced Hercules at the Jose Rico Perez stadium on Saturday in a bid to maintain their lead in the La Liga. However, the newly promoted side stunned the Los Blancos as David Trezeguet headed home from a David Cortes cross in the 3rd minute to put the visitors behind for the first time this season. The Blanquiazules started aggressively in the first half and Calatayud made some clutch stops despite all the efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo and company as the hosts held on to the lead at the end of the half. After the break Angel di Maria restored parity in the 53rd minute as he volleyed one past the keeper. The Los Blancos then piled the pressure on the home side with a number of surges within the opponents citadel and it paid off when Ronaldo latched on to a Karim Benzema rebound eight minutes from the stroke of the whistle to give Jose Mourinho’s side the lead for the first time in the game. The Portuguese sensation then doubled the lead in the 86th minute as he slotted the ball in the back of the net and once again substitute Benzema was the provider. Ronaldo almost got his hat-trick in the dying moments of the game but the shot was too high. Real Madrid now leads from rivals Barcelona by just a single point with Villareal, Valencia and Espanyol rounding up the top five.

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