Something a bit different. This week we begin by saluting the “effort of the week,” an award won by Porto’s brilliantly named striker Hulk.
Things didn’t completely go to plan for Porto in their top versus bottom clash against Rio Ave on Sunday night. Despite home advantage, the home side could not escape the clutches of their visitors, only managing to secure a 3-1 victory with a late brace from Ernesto Farias in the final minutes. But that wasn’t due to a lack of effort.
Picking up the ball from a thrown-in on the halfway line, Hulk carried the ball purposefully upfield, elegantly skipping past three Rio players in the process. Then, arriving at the edge of the box, Hulk unleashed a left-footed ripper that beat the keeper all ends up, only to be denied by the underside of the bar. (Hulk’s superb effort can be seen here.)
There was a real battle for the “schmuck of the week” award this week with three standout candidates making even the number 3 for the Swiss U21 side look good.
First up are Trinidad & Tobago pairing of Stern John and Kenwyne Jones. Strikers, as we know, are paid to score goals but this useless twosome managed not only to miss sitters, but their mistakes cost their side dear as they gave up their 2-goal advantage to draw with El Salvador on Wednesday night.
2-up, T & T were coasting to victory when they won a penalty. Up stepped Bristol City’s usually reliable forward Stern John only for the striker to balloon his spot-kick miles over the bar, flooding back memories of Chris Waddle’s World Cup ’90 shame. But at least John had the excuse that he had a keeper to beat. No such defence was available to Sunderland’s Kenwyne Jones minutes later, as the Blacks Cats striker managed to skew a shot wide of an open goal from four yards out. (Both screw-ups can be seen on this video.)
Then we arrive at Braga’s very own kamikaze defender Nuno Frechaut, whose side faced Leixoes in the Portuguese Superliga on Friday night. Midway through the second half the visitors worked the space on the right hand side with the ball eventually landing at the feet of number 28. Although Leixoes only had one striker in the box surrounded by a host of covering defenders, the ball was ambitiously slung in the mixer. Unsurprisingly, the cross failed to pick out a teammate. But in a “why won’t the ground open up and swallow me moment,” Nuno Frechaut scored one of the best own goals likely to be seen this season. (Watch here.)
Last but not least we head to Argentina, and Sunday night’s meeting between San Lorenzo and Godoy Cruz. Godoy Cruz impressively won the match 2-1, but they had to do it the hard way after conceding a goal befitting of numpties.
With just two minutes gone on the clock, the San Lorenzo keeper launched a huge kick down-field that made its way to the edge of the opponents’ box. Committing the cardinal sin of allowing the ball to bounce unchallenged, not a single member of the Godoy backline took responsibility for attacking the ball, which allowed a San Lorenzo forward to nip in with the defence all at sea.
Taking the ball past the keeper, the ball then fell to defender Gabriel Valles close to the goalline. Phew. He’ll clear the danger and order will be restored. Wait. Why did you do that!
Onto the list, where international week coughed up a hosts of quality strikes. While goals 1 and 2 were all about close control, thumping strikes from a variety of different angles accounted for goals 3, 4, 5 (something different), 6, 8, 9 and 10.
Goals 7 and 11 reflect two different, but both exquisite examples, of the perfect lob. While goal 12 stands alone as the best solo effort of the past seven days.
As always, all we ask is that you sit back and enjoy!
1. Robinho (Brazil v Italy, Feb. 10, 2009)
2. Adam Johnson (England U21 v Ecuador, Feb. 10, 2009)
3. Mahmood Abdulrahman (Uzbekistan v Bahrain, Feb. 11, 2009)
4. Mohamed Esnani (Libya v Uruguay, Feb. 11, 2009) (20 seconds in)
5. Macnelly Torres (Colombia v Haiti, Feb. 11, 2009)
6. Rasmus Elm (Austria v Sweden, Feb. 11, 2009)
7. Roger Guerreiro (Wales v Poland, Feb. 11, 2009)
8. Mauricio Donoso (Universitario de Sucre v Deportivo Quito, Feb. 11, 2009) (30 seconds in)
9. Serhiy Nazarenko (Serbia v Ukraine, Feb. 11, 2009)
10. Aron Gunnarsson (Blackburn v Coventry, Feb. 14, 2009)
11. Bakari Kone (Monaco v Marseille, Feb. 15, 2009)
12. Fabio Coentrao (Porto v Rio Ave, Feb. 15, 2009)