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Campbell, Atletico Madrid top AP soccer poll
LONDON (AP) - Fraizer Campbell’s two goals in Cardiff’s stunning 3-2 win over Manchester City earned him the top spot in the player rankings Tuesday in The Associated Press global soccer poll, while his Welsh club was second behind Atletico Madrid in the team vote.
Campbell’s two headers caused the biggest upset of the young season in any of the major European leagues _ and he’s arguably the most surprising name so far atop the weekly AP list.
The 25-year-old striker, who has only played one game for England, used his pace to exploit a City defense missing captain Vincent Kompany and proved an aerial threat when he scored from two corners.
“Fraizer Campbell was their star and I will be looking forward to the rest of the season after that display,” said panelist Mike McGrath, of The Sun and the Wardles news agency. “Their result against Manchester City was no fluke, it was down to a detailed game plan and players executing what their manager asked.”
Slovakia striker Marek Hamsik is second in the player vote after his double for Napoli gave manager Rafa Benitez a winning start against Bologna. Luca Toni, who scored both goals in Verona’s 2-1 win against AC Milan, is third.
“The Napoli skipper led by example, scoring twice and having a role in his side’s other goal as his team showed their intent to challenge Juventus for the Serie A title with a first-up 3-0 win over Bologna,” said Marc Monteverde, a soccer writer for News Corp Australia.
Atletico Madrid finished first in the team rankings after beating Rayo Vallecano 5-0. Cardiff is second and Arsenal third, after following up its 3-0 away win against Fenerbache in a Champions League qualifier with a 3-1 victory at Fulham.
“Atletico Madrid absolutely tore Rayo Vallecano apart on Sunday night, scoring five goals in an astonishing display of power and skill. Cardiff City impressed in a slightly different way, relying on set piece prowess to conquer 2012 Premier League champions Manchester City in the weekend’s biggest upset,” said Sam Tighe of the Bleacher Report.
Meanwhile, Julian Bennets, of England’s Hayters news agency, was impressed with Arsenal’s response to losing its opener 3-1 against Aston Villa.
“A woeful start to the season, but back-to-back victories have eased the pressure on Arsene Wenger,” Bennets said. “The Arsenal manager can be pleased with the way his side performed at both Fenerbahce and Fulham, but there is still a feeling the club are only one poor result away from a crisis.”
Two Atletico players made the top 10, with Diego Costa sixth and Arda Turan 10th.
Carlos Tevez came fifth after a goal for Juventus in his league debut and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, who scored the only goal in the team’s 1-0 win at Aston Villa, enters in ninth place.
Italian club Verona is sixth in the team rankings after beating AC Milan, 13 points above Barcelona, which beat Malaga 1-0 to maintain its winning start. Tenth-placed Marseille is the only French side in the rankings this week; it won 1-0 against Valenciennes thanks to a late winner from Andre-Pierre Gignac.
AP Global Soccer Rankings, for week ending Aug. 26.
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