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Atletico Madrid, Diego Costa top AP soccer poll
Atletico Madrid was first in this week’s Associated Press global soccer poll Tuesday after beating rival Real Madrid 1-0. Diego Costa, the goal scorer for Atletico Madrid, led the player rankings.
Costa, who received 191 points from the 26-member panel of international soccer journalists, also scored twice in Atletico’s 2-1 victory against Osasuna earlier in the week.
“Diego Costa is the symbol of an Atletico Madrid that is becoming a real contender in La Liga,” said Alejandro Cisternas of El Mercurio in Chile. “He is filling the space left by Falcao with goals and personality.”
Diego Simeone’s team is unbeaten in seven league matches in La Liga and is second to Barcelona on goal difference and five points ahead of Real Madrid.
“Beating Real Madrid in the last Copa del Rey final seems to have put Atletico back as a powerhouse in Spain,” said Ubiratan Leal of trivela.com in Brazil.
Roma thrashed Bologna 5-0 to take second in the team rankings with 183 points. Thirteen points behind is Borussia Dortmund, which also won 5-0 at home against Freiburg.
Ivory Coast striker Gervinho scored twice for Roma and is third in the player rankings. Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus _ each with two goals _ were fourth and fifth.
“Gervinho has blossomed under Rudi Garcia once again, and the Ivorian looks to have truly reinvented himself under a more believing manager,” Sam Tighe of The Bleacher Report said.
Gervinho’s former club Arsenal is the Premier League leader after a 2-1 away victory against Europa League team Swansea.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored the winner for Arsenal, which was fourth in the team vote with 143 points. Ramsey, who scored his eighth goal in as many games this season, was tied for sixth with Napoli’s Goran Pandev with 89 votes.
Luis Suarez finished second in the player poll, 50 points behind Costa, after scoring twice on his return to the Liverpool team following a 10-match ban.
His team was a 3-1 winner over Sunderland, which is last in the Premier League and has fired manager Paolo Di Canio. Daniel Sturridge scored the other goal in Liverpool’s win and was 10th in the player vote, with Liverpool eighth in the team poll.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, both Manchester clubs were upset _ United lost 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion while City twice squandered a one-goal lead at Aston Villa, losing 3-2.
West Brom made it into the top 10 of the team poll in seventh place.
“West Brom took the game to Manchester United and got their reward with two great goals and a first win at Old Trafford in 35 years,” Paris-based Irish football writer Mark Rodden said.
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