Team: AFC Ajax
Ajax managed to do on Tuesday what no team had achieved since FC Bayern München in last season's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg: to defeat FC Barcelona. The Amsterdam club's 2-1 home victory, which ended Gerardo Martino's unbeaten start as Blaugrana coach, inflicted the visitors' first loss in 26 games in all competitions and catapulted Frank de Boer's men back into the reckoning in Group H.
Ajax's task now is to topple qualification rivals AC Milan at San Siro on matchday six in order to steal second place from the Rossoneri. "This is one of the best nights of my career; no, the best," said Ajax midfielder Thulani Serero, whose opener was added to by Danny Hoesen before Xavi Hernández replied with a penalty. "It comes top of the list."
Player: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United FC)
It seems harsh to pick out any individual from what was an exceptional Manchester United display, but since it is his 40th birthday today, all hail Ryan Giggs. The oldest outfield player in this season's UEFA Champions League put in an excellent shift once more, setting up the last goal in Wednesday's 5-0 Group A win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. "Giggsy's ball to Nani was brilliant," said team-mate Chris Smalling. "He has really got an eye for that." Giggs did not reveal what he was getting for his birthday, but has had something of a surprise already. "We didn't think we would put in a performance like this and score five goals," he conceded.
Goal: Douglas Costa (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
When Alex Teixeira laid the ball off for his fellow Brazilian during Wednesday's Group A game against Real Sociedad de Fútbol in Ukraine, it did not immediately look like a prime goalscoring opportunity, but – with his side already 2-0 up – Shakhtar midfielder Douglas Costa let fly. His angled shot promptly soared past Claudio Bravo at the Real Sociedad keeper's near post. "I practise long-range shooting a lot – which is why, for my first goal, I just tried my luck and got what I wanted," said the 23-year-old, who made it 4-0 on the night with another fine effort.
The number of seconds it took for Jack Wilshere to open the scoring in Arsenal FC's 2-0 Group F home victory over Olympique de Marseille: it was the 12th fastest goal in UEFA Champions League history. "We lost the ball from kick-off which is unusual," the 21-year-old explained. "When they won the ball so quickly they wanted to go forward quickly and we hit them on the counter with a good ball from Bac [Sagna]." A small highlight for OM fans was that last season's loan star Joey Barton – now back at Queens Park Rangers FC – watched from the away end.
"We can be very proud, especially as we've taken the record from a team [Barcelona] who have been dominating Europe for a few years. We can be very proud as there were games like the UEFA Champions League final and the semi-final, but ten wins in a row proves we are a great side."
Arjen Robben reflects on FC Bayern München's achievement of ten successive victories in the UEFA Champions League.
Emergency service: Saša Ilić (FK Gorno Lisiče)
Former FK Vardar, FK Partizan and Hamburger SV goalkeeper Saša Ilić was forced to come out of retirement at the age of 43 to feature in a Macedonian First League game last Sunday. Now goalkeeping coach at Gorno Lisiče, he was thrust into the limelight against FK Renova after regular No1 Marjan Madzarovski was injured during the warm-up, joining fellow custodian Dejan Kosturanov on the casualty list.
"I didn't concede, so I guess I wasn't too bad," said Ilić after the 0-0 away draw, his first match since 2007, though he admitted: "I lost track of time. Those 90 minutes seemed like an eternity. There is no chance I can help out next time – I can't move."
The wurst is yet to come: FC Vysočina Jihlava
Season-ticket holders are being given a special treat at Czech side Vysočina Jihlava, with players eager to make amends for Saturday's 5-0 defeat at 1. FK Příbram which left them bottom of the First League and prompted the departure of their coach. The players have agreed to pay the entrance fee of every fan who turns up for their next home fixture, with a bonus for the most committed supporters. A club statement read: "Every season-ticket holder will get a special voucher when he arrives at the ground and this may be used to get a free sausage."
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