World Football Performances of the Weekend
This installment of the World Football Performances of the Weekend takes us to five countries on two continents, where on Saturday and Sunday a quintet of players scored nine goals while adding a handful of assists.
Of course, it’s not always offensive contributions that will earn a footballer a spot in this list. John Terry, for example, would have nailed down a place by virtue of his masterful performance at Manchester United had the match not been played on a Monday.
And then there’s the simple, human reality that one person can only watch so much football. For me, the five names I’ll reveal over the following slides basically wrote themselves.
Naturally, you’ll have been impressed with some other performances from the weekend, and you’re welcome to describe them in the forum below.
Once again what I’m concerned with in this space are good, impactful performances from players representing clubs all over the world—not necessarily the “top five players” from the weekend.
No region is out of bounds. That’s the beautiful thing about football—it is everywhere, all the time.
Guido Carrillo, Estudiantes
In the 2012-13 Argentine season, Guido Carrillo scored four goals in 29 appearances over the two tournaments as Estudiantes finished ninth in the Inicial and 15th in the final.
If his performances can in any way be interpreted as a sort of club barometer, then it would seem the La Plata outfit are destined for a better showing in 2013-14.
Already Carrillo, 22, has scored three goals in four matches in this Torneo Inicial—two of which came in Sunday’s match against Buenos Aires heavyweight Boca Juniors.
After a scoreless first half, the striker opened the scoring shortly after the restart as Boca midfielder Pablo Ledesma was throwing his weight around, assembling a collection of fouls. And in the 90th minute he converted from the spot to round out the scoring in a 2-0 win that sent Estudiantes to within two points of the top of the table.
Sidney Sam, Bayer Leverkusen
Stefan Kiessling, Heung-Min Son and Sidney Sam have been tearing opposition defenses apart in the early going this season. On Saturday, Sam put in one of his better performances in a Bayer Leverkusen shirt.
Just five minutes after Kiessling had opened the scoring against Borussia Monchengladbach from the spot, the 25-year-old doubled the hosts’ advantage when he roofed his effort from near the penalty spot after accepting a pass from Kiessling.
Then, on the stroke of the hour-mark and with Monchengladbach having scored a pair of quick goals to tie the game at two goals apiece, Sam’s low, hard shot from 20 yards beat goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the left-hand corner.
With 18 minutes to play, he added an assist by playing through Gonzalo Castro to restore Leverkusen’s two-goal advantage.
Over the 90 minutes, Sam completed 92 percent of his passes and took five shots at goal. (Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.)
Marek Hamsik, Napoli
The Rafael Benitez era at Napoli kicked off with a 3-0 win at home to Bologna on Sunday. Scoring twice at the San Paolo was Slovakia international Marek Hamsik.
With Napoli about to head into the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to Jose Callejon’s 32nd-minute opener, Hamsik doubled the advantage on the stroke of halftime when his left-footed shot from an impossible angle somehow found its way past goalkeeper Gianluca Curci.
The 26-year-old then rounded out the scoring in the 63rd minute after placing his low, hard shot inside the near post after accepting the ball from Goran Pandev.
Hamsik was withdrawn nine minutes later, having touched the ball 58 times and taken four shots at goal during his 72 minutes of play.
Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
He is the only single-goal scorer on this week’s list, although Diego Costa’s fingerprints were all over Atletico Madrid’s 5-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano.
With new signing David Villa repeatedly running himself into offside positions, the 24-year-old’s influence was even more important at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday, as were those of Arda Turan and Raul Garcia.
In the 20th minute, only moments after Garcia had opened the scoring following a corner, Diego Costa doubled the hosts’ advantage when he stroked home Arda’s cross from close range. He then repaid the favour with 10 minutes remaining in the first half when his through ball found Arda, who beat Vallecano goalkeeper David Cobeno for a 3-0 lead.
The Brazil forward set up his second goal of the contest in the 53rd minute when his inch-perfect cross set up Tiago for a header.
Fraizer Campbell, Cardiff
Despite falling behind to moneybags Manchester City shortly after the restart, a spirited Cardiff side managed to turn a deficit into a memorable 3-2 win. And former Manchester United striker Fraizer Campbell scored twice in the space of eight minutes.
The 25-year-old’s first, which put the hosts 2-1 up following Aron Gunnarsson’s equalizer, came in the 79th minute and saw him barrel through the area to get a head on Peter Whittingham’s corner.
In the 87th minute, he scored what proved to be the match-winner when he shook off City right-back Pablo Zabaleta to head the ball past goalkeeper Joe Hart to the far corner.