LONDON (AP) - Chelsea is at the top of this week’s Associated Press global football 10 after beating Premier League leader Liverpool 2-0, and Cristiano Ronaldo won the player vote after scoring twice for Real Madrid.
It was the second impressive defensive display in a week from Chelsea, as it also managed to nullify the threat of Atletico Madrid and Diego Costa in a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals. The domestic victory ended Liverpool’s 11-game winning streak
“Chelsea (is) obviously team of the week for two magnificent defensive displays, playing 180 minutes at the homes of Spain and England’s league leaders without conceding a goal - or hardly a shot,” James Porteous of the South China Morning Post said.
Fellow voter Aurelio Capaldi of RAI Sport in Italy said the Anfield win was particularly impressive given Chelsea’s absentees.
“Jose Mourinho made his enemies eat their words again and Chelsea got three points at Anfield without players like Petr Cech, John Terry, David Luiz, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Samuel Eto’o,” Capaldi said. “Aware of the importance of Wednesday’s Champions League second leg semifinal with Atletico Madrid, Mourinho rested some key players and got his tactics right again. Superb.”
Demba Ba, who opened the scoring for Chelsea after Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped and lost possession, enters the player vote in seventh this week.
Madrid was second to Chelsea in the team vote after beating Osasuna 4-0 and beating Bayern Munich 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
Meanwhile, Spanish league leader Atletico Madrid followed its draw against Chelsea with a domestic victory.
“Atletico Madrid won 1-0 away to Valencia, recording their first victory in Mestalla after 11 seasons,” Manos Staramopoulos of Eleftheros Typos in Greece said. “So now, if they collect another six points, then they win the championship.”
A Yaya Toure-inspired Manchester City took advantage of Chelsea’s victory at Anfield by winning 2-0 at Crystal Palace. The Ivory Coast international returned from injury to score the second goal and seal the three points - a performance puts him in third position in the player poll.
“There have been mutterings about Yaya Toure’s lack of defensive discipline at times this season,” Chris Tait of The Herald in Scotland said. “It is not likely to matter if the Manchester City midfielder continues to lead the charge to another league title.”
Barcelona is fifth after coming from two goals behind to beat Villarreal 3-2. Lionel Messi, who scored the decisive third goal, polls fourth.
Miralem Pjanic was second to Ronaldo in the player poll after his impressive solo goal gave Roma a 1-0 win over AC Milan, a result that ranks them sixth in the team vote.
“There are times when it feels like Miralem Pjanic is staging a one-man goal-of-the-season contest but, even by his standards, Roma’s Bosnian midfielder scored in special style against AC Milan on Friday,” Richard Jolly of ESPN said.
Claudio Pizzaro led Bayern Munich to a 5-2 rout of Werder Bremen with two goals, which sees him poll fifth and Bayern seventh. A double for Wayne Rooney in Manchester United’s 4-0 win against Norwich means he is sixth.