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Boy wonders, snow men and Portuguese upstarts

Published: Friday 15 February 2013, 12.25CET
Frank Lampard picks up his pen without a contract in sight, Roberto Mancini gives up the day job and Oleh Blokhin turns poster boy. UEFA.com looks back at the week that was.

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Published: Friday 15 February 2013, 12.25CET

Boy wonders, snow men and Portuguese upstarts

Frank Lampard picks up his pen without a contract in sight, Roberto Mancini gives up the day job and Oleh Blokhin turns poster boy. UEFA.com looks back at the week that was.

Team: FC Paços de Ferreira
Located 35km from domestic powerhouses FC Porto, the unfashionable northern Portuguese club are threatening to upset the established order in the Liga. A 3-2 win on Monday at fourth-placed SC Braga – a match in which they were three up by the 50-minute mark – strengthened their grip on the division's third and final UEFA Champions League berth, four points above their opponents.

Not that European qualification is in coach Paulo Fonseca's thoughts, though. "I'm very proud of my players, of course, but we reject any kind of euphoria and we will try to maintain an emotional balance," said the 39-year-old, whose side's only top-flight losses this term have been to Porto and SL Benfica.

Player: Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
The Italian international was one of the driving forces behind Juventus's 3-0 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg victory at Celtic FC. A willing runner – his 11,305m covered in Glasgow were bettered only by team-mate Stephan Lichtsteiner – the Turin-born midfielder scored the Bianconeri's second goal and dispossessed Efe Ambrose before playing in Mirko Vučinić for the late third.

"Taking our chances and scoring was important," said the 27-year-old, who was responsible for three of La Vecchia Signora's seven on-target shots. "We definitely created less than Celtic, but in the end we were more clinical and managed to secure this win."

Goal: Samuel Umtiti (Olympique Lyonnais)
Lyon's Cameroon-born left-back hit his first goal in European competition to silence White Hart Lane. Tottenham Hotspur FC led Thursday's UEFA Europa League round of 32 opener in north London through a rather fine Gareth Bale free-kick, until 19-year-old Umtiti rattled in a bullet half-volley to steal the Welshman's thunder – temporarily at least. "Fantastic," said Lyon coach Rémi Garde. "An unbelievable goal," added Spurs' Jan Vertonghen. Watch UEFA.com's highlights while you still can.

Number: 100,000
Cristiano Ronaldo handed over a €100,000 cheque from UEFA to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) before Real Madrid CF's 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw with Manchester United FC on Wednesday. Ronaldo received, and in turn donated, the cheque in recognition of his achievement in being voted into the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year no fewer than seven times. "For me it's an honour to participate in social acts to help those who need it most," Ronaldo, 28, said. "It makes me extremely happy."

Quote
"This is Roberto Mancini from Manchester City. This is the Bury service. The next stop will be the Etihad Campus."
Manchester City FC's Italian manager goes the extra mile in the name of public service on Manchester's latest tram service, voicing the automated onboard message for travellers heading to City's stadium. With his team trailing rivals Manchester United FC by 12 points, insert your own 'back on track' or 'mind the gap' quip depending where your loyalties lie.

Poster boy: Oleh Blokhin (FC Dynamo Kyiv)
FC Girondins de Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot was gushing with praise for his Dynamo Kyiv counterpart Oleh Blokhin before the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie on Thursday. "Blokhin brings back memories of when I was 14," said Gillot, 53, who also confessed he had a poster of the former Dynamo and USSR forward in his room. "I was at the [Valenciennes] academy and used to watch games on TV. Kyiv were very impressive. It's 40 years ago but still clear in my memory." Ludovic Obraniak's fine strike on the night may also linger long as Bordeaux earned a 1-1 draw in Ukraine.

New signing: Frank Lampard (Chelsea FC)
Second on Chelsea's all-time top scorers' list, Frank Lampard will soon pen a new chapter in his life: as a children's author. The England midfielder, whose contract at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of the season, will write five books, titled Frankie's Magic Football, for youngsters aged five and above. Lampard is "loosely" basing the content on friends and team-mates. His first book, Frankie Versus the Pirate Pillagers, will be published in June, with two more to follow by December and two in 2014.

The 34-year-old, who has two daughters, said in a statement: "I first had the idea of Frankie and his Magic Football when reading stories to my own children. Sport and reading are two essentials for us at home, so I decided to make up my own football stories and adventures."

Snow joke: AS Saint-Étienne
Extreme weather has had an affect on the football calendar in recent weeks, as it often does at this time of year – but St-Étienne had more reason than most to defy the weather. Heavy snow looked like it would be the winner during their Ligue 1 game with Montpellier Hérault SC in eastern France last Saturday, with the referee forced to suspend proceedings on 65 minutes with Les Verts 3-1 up.

League regulations state that if a match is postponed, it must be replayed starting at 0-0. Cue all energies diverted into clearing the pitch, with St-Étienne substitutes deployed and strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Brandão – who had both scored – proving as efficient with a snow shovel as with a ball. The volunteers' efforts had the desired effect, with play restarting 35 minutes later and the hosts running out 4-1 victors.

Last updated: 04/12/13 6.48CET

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