Thursday Kickoff: Hernandez leads Man United; Real Madrid at center of controversy; and more

Thursday Kickoff: Hernandez leads Man United; Real Madrid at center of controversy; and more

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Thursday Kickoff: Hernandez leads Man United; Real Madrid at center of controversy; and more

JavierHernandezManUnited1 (AP)

By DAN KARELL

It was supposed to be Luis Suarez’s night to shine, but instead it was a different Latin American star who stole the spotlight.

Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez proved to be the difference as he scored in his first start of the season to take his club on top of arch-rivals Liverpool, 1-0, in the third round of the Capital One Cup. The Mexican international scored just a minute into the second half on a corner kick, beautifully opening his body up in mid-air to angle the shot in for a goal.

Also in action on Wednesday evening in England, Nicklas Bendtner made his Arsenal return after more than two years, playing all 120 minutes in the Gunners’ 4-3 win in penalty kicks after the score was level at 1-1.

The League Cup fourth round draw also occurred on Wednesday, drawing Man United with Norwich City and highly attractive tie between Arsenal and Chelsea.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

CONTROVERSIAL FINISH IN ELCHE

Spain has woken up on Thursday morning to more sporting controversy, this time surrounding Real Madrid.

Los Blancos looked set to settle for a 1-1 draw against Elche after forward Boakye headed home in the 91st minute to tie the match. However, four minutes later in stoppage time, referee Muñiz Fernandez awarded a dubious penalty kick to Real Madrid, setting the table for Cristiano Ronaldo to score his second goal of the match.

Madrid’s Pepe and Elche’s Carlos Sanchez were battling for position in the box on a corner kick as both fell over, with video evidence suggesting that Pepe pulled down Sanchez. Despite this, Fernandez awarded the penalty kick to Madrid and not a free kick to Elche.

Fernandez was also the referee on September 14 when Barcelona defeated Sevilla, 3-2, with a goal by Alexis Sanchez in the fourth minute of extra time, which some claim went longer than it should have. Reports in Spain state that Fernandez is likely to be sanctioned by La Liga, and won’t be assigned for any matches for the time being.

ROMA STAY PERFECT TO START THEIR SEASON

Whatever AS Roma head coach Rudi Garcia is doing in his first year in charge of the club, it’s working wonders.

The Giallorossi won their fifth straight match to start the Serie A season, a new club record, defeating Sampdoria on the road, 2-0, thanks to two second half goals. The win leaves Roma alone on top of the league table with 15 points.

Summer signing Mehdi Benatia opened the scoring with a run forward from central defense, making two Samp defenders miss with some top-level dribbling before an accurate sliding finish in the 65th minute. Former Arsenal winger Gervinho put the match away in the 88th minute with a close-range finish from the left of the box.

QUICK KICKS

Chelsea midfielder and summer signing Marco Van Ginkel’s is set for six to nine months on the sidelines after suffering a torn ACL suffered in Chelsea’s 2-0 victory against Swindon Town. (REPORT)

AC Milan midfielder Nigel De Jong has earned a Netherlands recall for the first time since last November as he’s overcome his injuries and is in solid form in the early season. (REPORT)

The Spanish Football Federation has reportedly written to FIFA to determine whether Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa can file his one-time switch from Brazil to Spain. (REPORT)

FIFA have provisionally suspended a Bulgarian player on club Ludogorets, thought to be Yordan Minev, for testing positive for a banned substance. (REPORT)

UEFA have ordered Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb to play their next two UEFA Europa League home matches behind closed doors as well as pay a fine of €70,250 for racism, throwing missiles/fireworks, and “improper conduct of the team.” (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Did you expect Man United to beat Liverpool? Do you feel that Real Madrid and Barcelona are awarded favorable calls? Do you see Roma continuing their fine form?

Share your thoughts below.

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