Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 25th 2013 Contents LONDON---Manchester City is first
in this week s Associated Press
global football poll after beating
city rival Manchester United 4-1,
and Sergio Aguero s two goals put
him at the top of the player vote.
City received 157 points out of a
possible 180 in the team vote to finish
20 points ahead of Napoli. Aguero,
who also scored in the Champions
League for City earlier in the week,
received 131 votes, five more than
Real Madrid forward Cristiano
"Sergio Aguero got a goal and an
assist against Viktoria Plzen in the
Champions League and then scored
a double in the derby game," Paris-
based Irish football writer Mark Rod-
den said. "Having netted the goal
that won the league two years ago---
and the winner against United last
season---the Argentine can hardly be
more popular with City fans."
Napoli is second after opening its
Champions League campaign with
a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund
before beating AC Milan by the same
score at the San Siro.
Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain,
who scored Napoli s winner in the
game against Milan, is fourth in the
player rankings with 71 points, three
ahead of Barcelona forward and
compatriot Lionel Messi.
Rafael Benitez s side have won all
of its five games so far this season
and again impressed this week s AP
panel of 18 voters.
"First, a convincing win over last
season s Champions League finalists
Borussia Dortmund and then a first
away victory over AC Milan since
the days of Diego Maradona," Julian
Bennetts of Hayters news agency
said. "There is a real sense of
momentum around Rafa Benitez s
side at present and they look genuine
candidates for every competition
Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are
once more recognised as the heart-
beat behind Arsenal s good run of
The midfielders are sixth and sev-
enth respectively in this week s rank-
ings, falling from second and third
place the previous week. Ramsey
scored the opener in Arsenal s 3-1
win against Stoke but Ozil received
nine more votes (51) for an impressive
all-round display that included two
"Ozil left his fingerprints all over
Arsenal s 3-1 win over Stoke City,"
said Tom Timmerman of the St
Louis Post, while Orfeo Gonzalez of
El Mundo said: "Arsenal is different
with Ozil in the team, a hors cat-
While Ronaldo is in second place,
his Real Madrid side was voted into
sixth position in the team vote.
Madrid is three points behind
Barcelona but Ronaldo has 58 points
more than Messi, after the Portugal
forward scored five goals in two
"Lionel Messi followed Ronaldo s
hat-trick against Galatasaray with
one of his own against Ajax," James
Porteous of South China Morning
Post said. "But while Ronaldo added
to his tally on the weekend, Messi
failed to score. Pedro took the plau-
dits with a hat-trick of his own."
Barcelona s Pedro is third in the
player vote. Tied in tenth position
are Everton defender Leighton Baines
and Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina,
who both received 27 votes: Baines
scored from two excellent free kicks
in Everton s 3-2 win against West
Ham, while Reina became the first
man to save a penalty from AC
Milan s Mario Balotelli, who had not
missed one of his previous 21 spot-
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MILAN---AC Milan will not
appeal striker Mario Balotelli s
On Monday, the Serie A club
said it would appeal both Balotelli s
ban for insulting a referee and the
decision to close a section of the
stadium for a match after racist
However, after receiving official
documents pertaining to the deci-
sions, the club announced on Tues-
day that it will only appeal against
the closure of its Curva Sud.
"Mario is no longer a child, he
is 23 years old and he has to
change," Milan coach Massimiliano
Allegri said. "He is a potential
champion but he has to stop certain
attitudes towards referees.
"I believe Mario has enough
good sense and capacity to under-
stand that it s an important year
and that he is in a situation in
which he cannot make a mistake.
Until now Mario has always
behaved well. Sunday he made a
mistake, I hope that will serve as
a lesson to him. I believe I can give
him a hand, but he needs to help
Balotelli, who missed a penalty
and scored in Sunday s 2-1 loss to
Napoli, was given a second booking
after the final whistle for his
protests. The Italy striker auto-
matically received a one-match
ban for that red card and was sus-
pended for a further two matches
the following day.
He will miss the games against
Bologna, Sampdoria and Juventus.
Balotelli may also be left out of
the Italy squad for the World Cup
qualifiers against Denmark on Oct.
11 and Armenia four days later.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has
previously dropped players who
have breached his strict code of
LONDON---Arsenal winger Theo
Walcott will undergo abdominal
surgery and will miss England s
final two World Cup qualifiers next
Arsenal says he has sustained
"slight damage to his posterior
abdominal wall" and hopes he will
be back on the pitch "soon after the
England hosts Montenegro on
October 11 and Poland on October
15 at Wembley Stadium. England
has a one-point lead in qualifying
over Ukraine and Montenegro in
Arsenal says Walcott will have the
"minor procedure" today in Ger-
many. Manager Arsene Wenger says
because "it s so minor, we can begin
his rehab immediately. We are
pleased it s being dealt with quickly
and he shouldn t miss too many
SYDNEY---Australia coach Hol-
ger Osieck has dismissed specu-
lation that his job may be under
threat after his team s recent 6-
0 loss to Brazil.
Osieck named a 24-man squad
yesterday for friendly internationals
against France and Canada but
found himself forced to defend a
loss he has admitted was the worst
of his coaching career.
The Germany-born coach says
"we made the major step and we
are already (in the World Cup) and
a lot of great football nations are
still struggling and maybe won t
even get there. So to question me
then, that s a little bit out of order."
Man City voted
team of the week
AC Milan will not
appeal Balotelli's ban
In this photo AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli, left, is restrained by
teammate Marco Amelia after receiving a red card at the end of the Serie
A soccer match between AC Milan and Napoli at the San Siro stadium in
Milan, Italy. Mario Balotelli has been banned for three matches following
a confrontation with the referee after AC Milan's loss to Napoli. AP PHOTO
Manchester City's Edin
Dzeko, left, celebrates
scoring a goal of the game
teammate Sergio Aguero
during an English Premier
League match. AP PHOTO
Job speculation out of order
says Aussie coach Osieck Walcott out of final WCup qualifiers
AP Global Football rankings
(for week ending September
1. Sergio Aguero, 131 points.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, 126.
3. Pedro, 93.
4. Gonzalo Higuain, 71
5. Lionel Messi, 68.
6. Mesut Ozil, 52.
7. Aaron Ramsey, 41.
8. Yaya Toure, 38.
9. Victor Valdes, 32.
10. Leighton Baines, Pepe
Reina (tie) 27.
1. Manchester City, 157.
2. Napoli, 137
3. Bayern Munich, 108.
4. Arsenal, 93.
5. Barcelona, 91.
6. Real Madrid, 88.
7. Atletico Madrid, 67.
8. Roma, 42.
9. Inter Milan, 39.
10. FC Basle, 37.
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