Goal.com World Player Of The Week: Ulugbek Bakayev - Uzbekistan

Join Goal.com in saluting another player worthy of global recognition…
Welcome to Goal.com's regular feature: Goal.com World Player of the Week. Each week our worldwide team of editors will put forward a selected candidate, as chosen by Goal.com International, who deserves recognition for achieving something special that matchday. It won't necessarily be the best player in the world - at least not usually - but whoever we nominate will have done something amazing. It might be for a particularly awesome performance or for something praiseworthy off the pitch - either way, the person in question deserves special attention...

Goal.com World Player of the Week #88:
Ulugbek Bakayev (Castrol Ranking: N/A)
Club:
FC Bunyodkor
Country: Uzbekistan
Age: 32
Role: Forward
Achievement: Scored twice against Jordan in the Asian Cup quarter-finals


On Friday, Uzbekistan reached the semi-finals of the Asian Cup for the first time in their history when they got the better of Jordan in the last eight, and the backbone of this triumph was striker Ulugbek Bakayev's quickfire second half brace.

The 32-year-old fired his side into the lead immediately after the half-time interval when he raced in to head home Server Djeparov's floated free-kick. Three minutes later Bakayev etched his name on the scoresheet once again when he turned in Jasur Khasanov's cross from the left.

The 2-1 victory propelled Uzbekistan into the last four of Asia's premier international competition for the first time ever. Bakayev's name has now been added to his country's history books and coach Vadim Abramov exclaimed: “He is a big player with plenty of experience. I know him very well. I gave him a chance and he scores two goals. He has made history and everybody now knows his name in Uzbekistan."

The people of
Uzbekistan will now hope that Bakayev weaves his magic against Australia in the semi-finals.

Congratulations to
Ulugbek Bakayev, Goal.com's 88th World Player of the Week!



Honourable Mentions:

Marco Di Vaio - Bologna (Castrol Ranking: 399)

The veteran Italian striker is Bologna's best player and most prolific goalscorer, and on Sunday against Scudetto challengers Lazio he exhibited his creativity and class. Di Vaio scored two goals in the Felsinei's 3-1 triumph at home to the Aquile and both were well taken, the first a creation of his own genius and the second a clinical finish.

Karim Benzema - Real Madrid (Castrol Ranking: 827)

The France international striker proved to be the coastguard for Real Madrid against Real Mallorca in the Spanish Primera Division on Sunday evening as his second half goal saw los Blancos gain all three points and avoid the ignominy of slipping further behind leaders Barcelona.

Benzema didn't really look comfortable and also missed two good opportunities but the 23-year-old's goal earned a very valuable win for Jose Mourinho's team, one that keeps them floating during controversial times behind the scenes.

Arjen Robben - Bayern Munich (Castrol Ranking: 17)

Bayern Munich destroyed Kaiserslautern in the German Bundesliga on Saturday and the main inspiration behind the comprehensive 5-1 victory was a certain Arjen Robben. Mario Gomez scored a hat-trick, but it was the Dutch international winger who opened the floodgates, as his two moments of unalloyed sorcery on either side of half-time propelled the Bavarians towards a Champions League finish.

Robben broke the deadlock in injury time of the first half and then seconds into the restart broke into a run down the right flank that eventually resulted in Gomez's first goal of the match.

Fernando Torres - Liverpool (Castrol Ranking: 145)


Liverpool got a much needed respite in the Premier League on Saturday and eased worries of potential relegation on themselves after a 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers. Fernando Torres wasn't always in the game and was in the shadows for large periods of the second half but the Spain international was on target twice at Molineux, opening and closing the scoring. Neither of the goals were exactly spectacular but they were very crucial. The old Torres appears to be returning just when Liverpool need him most.

Darren Bent - Aston Villa (Castrol Ranking: 298)

Darren Bent was recently signed by Aston Villa from Sunderland for what many would say was an overpriced sum which could rise to £24 million, but he certainly made the most of his debut, scoring the winner against Premier League title contenders Manchester City at Villa Park. His 18th minute strike proved to be the difference between the two sides.

Shinji Kagawa - Japan (Castrol Ranking: 492)


The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is currently on duty with Japan in the Asian Cup and is having a good competition too. Kagawa scored twice and played an important role in the third goal in their 3-2 victory over hosts Qatar in the quarter-finals and also got an assist in their 5-0 triumph over Saudi Arabia earlier in the week.

Marc Janko - Twente (Castrol Ranking: N/A)

The Austria international had an outstanding week for Twente and helped the Tukkers to two important victories to keep them in the title race. Janko was the undisputed man of the match in midweek when he helped Twente to a 5-0 win over regional rivals Heracles by netting four goals. On Sunday, the striker was again unstoppable on occasions and netted a brace to help his side to a 2-1 away win against Twente. Janko could have netted another, but his spot kick bounced back off the upright.

Leave your notes of congratulations for Ulugbek Bakayev below, or discuss who else deserves a place in the sun this week...

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