Footballers of the weekend: Africans decorate Europe with their goals
European football is incomplete without some African flavour and players like Chelsea’s Senegalese striker Demba Ba and Juventus’s Ghanaian Asamoah Kwadwo lifted the sport with an exhibition of their super skill in their respective football matches over the weekend.
In other places around Europe, Barcelona's shock 1-0 defeat at Valladolid allowed Real Madrid to open up a three-point lead in La Liga as ManchesterCity were upset by Wigan Athletic in the English FA Cup for the second successive season.
Bayern Munich racked up their 16th successive win to close in on the Bundesliga title.
Rediff.com presents a round-up of the interesting matches and the footballers of the weekend.
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Image: Juventus's Kwadwo Asamoah and Chelsea's Demba Ba
Photographs: Giorgio Perottino and Stefan Wermuth//Reuters
Ronaldo leads Real to win and three points clear at top
Cristiano Ronaldo rounded off a successful week with a goal for Real Madrid in a 3-0 win at home to 10-man Levante on Sunday that put Carlo Ancelotti's in-form side three points clear at the top.
Ronaldo, had, early last week, topped the list of most goals for Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the leading scorer in Spain this season, took his tally to 24 goals when he headed the opener from Angel Di Maria's corner in the 11th minute and Marcelo added a second from Ronaldo's assist four minutes after the break.
David Navarro was harshly shown a straight red card in the 64th minute for an innocuous-looking tackle on Ronaldo and fellow Levante defender Nikos Karampelas put the ball into his own net nine minutes from time.
Real, unbeaten in 29 matches in all competitions, have 67 points with 11 matches left, with Atletico Madrid three behind in second after they won 2-0 at Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Champions Barca, who play at Real in the La Liga "Clasico" in two weeks time, turned in one of their worst performances of the campaign at Valladolid, who are battling relegation, and slipped to third on 63 points.
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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo (right) of Real Madrid controls the ball as Loukas Vyntra of Levante UD looks on during their La Liga match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Sunday
Photographs: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Ba brace, Eto'o goal give Chelsea derby win
In England, the FA Cup action stole the limelight from the Premier League this weekend but Chelsea’s Demba Ba shone in their League derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
Substitute Ba scored two late goals as Chelsea crushed Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 on Saturday to move seven points clear of Liverpool and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.
Another African in the Chelsea squad, Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, also put his name in the scoring list to see Chelsea go top.
Chelsea have played a game more than their closest challengers and three more than City who are nine points adrift of the leaders in fourth.
Champions Manchester United won 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion to climb to sixth.
In the FA Cup, holders Wigan Athletic pulled off another massive upset when they won 2-1 at Premier League title-chasing ManchesterCity to reach the semi-finals.
Second-tier Wigan, who shocked City in the final at Wembley last year, stormed into a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium and although Samir Nasri pulled one back for the hosts they could not force an equaliser and their hopes of a quadruple of trophies this season were left in tatters.
Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 on Saturday and they and Wigan were joined in the last four by Sheffield United, who became the first third-tier team to reach the semis since 2001, and HullCity.
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Image: Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea does an 'Old Man' celebration after scoring his team's first goal on Saturday
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Asamoah gives Juve clean home record
A stunning first-half strike by Kwadwo Asamoah gave Serie A leaders Juventus a 1-0 win over Fiorentina as they maintained their 100 percent home record in the league.
Juve have won all 14 home games, although it was a close call as Fiorentina substitute Ryder Matos headed against the crossbar with 10 minutes to go.
Juventus have 72 points from 27 games, 14 clear of second-placed AS Roma who were beaten 1-0 by a late Jose Callejon goal at third-placed Napoli. Napoli are on 55 points.
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Image: Kwadwo Asamoah (left) of Juventus celebrates after scoring against Fiorentina during their Serie A match at Juventus Arena in Turin on Sunday
Photographs: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Bayern rout Wolfsburg
Bayern Munich demolished VfL Wolfsburg 6-1 and in so doing set a league record with their 16th successive win.
Thomas Mueller and Mario Mandzukic scored two goals each as Bayern exploded in the second half with a five-goal 17-minute spell that saw them protect their massive 20-point lead at the top with 10 games left to play.
Injury-plagued Borussia Dortmund were far less convincing but edged past Freiburg 1-0 courtesy of captain Sebastian Kehl's first goal in almost two years to go four points clear in second place.
Bayer Leverkusen drew 1-1 at Hanover 96 to remain third with Schalke 04, 4-0 winners over Hoffenheim thanks to a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hat-trick, joining them on 44 points.
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Image: Bayern's Franck Ribery of France (right) celebrates with teammates Arjen Robben (left) and Dante after scoring against Wolfsburg during their German Bundesliga match in Wolfsburg, on Saturday
Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Ibra magic sets up PSG win
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was again the chief tormentor as French champions Paris St Germain won 3-0 at Bastia to stay eight points clear at top of the Ligue 1.
Ibrahimovic headed into the top corner in the sixth minute before his clever backheel set up Ezequiel Lavezzi for the second goal 13 minutes later. The Sweden international set up Lavezzi again for the third two minutes from time.
The result put PSG on 67 points from 28 games.
Second-placed Monaco beat second-bottom Sochaux 2-1.
Image: Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Bastia during their French Ligue 1 match at the Stade Armand-Cesari in Furiani, on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, on Saturday
Photographs: Pierre Murati/Reuters