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Ibrahimović hits the target

Published: Thursday 1 April 2010, 20.43CET
Real Madrid CF and Zlatan Ibrahimović are flying, while Andrey Arshavin really does not like cactuses very much. sifts through the silt of the last week to pick the golden moments.
Ibrahimović hits the target
Zlatan Ibrahimović celebrates a long-awaited goal ©Getty Images features

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Published: Thursday 1 April 2010, 20.43CET

Ibrahimović hits the target

Real Madrid CF and Zlatan Ibrahimović are flying, while Andrey Arshavin really does not like cactuses very much. sifts through the silt of the last week to pick the golden moments.

Team: Real Madrid CF
Madrid may be out of the UEFA Champions League, but they have hit a pulverising streak of form in the Liga, with last weekend's 3-2 derby win against Club Atlético de Madrid their 11th top-flight victory on the spin since a 1-0 loss at Athletic Club on 16 February. More fearsome still, they have scored three or more goals in their last ten games, bettering their best previous achievement in that respect when they hit three and over in seven straight wins in 1951/52. Gonzalo Higuaín, who has struck 23 goals in as many league games, hopes the leaders can stay grounded, saying: "There are nine matches left. We need to remain humble and work hard."

Player: Zlatan Ibrahimović (FC Barcelona)
Going into Wednesday's quarter-final against Arsenal FC, the Sweden striker conceded: "I haven't performed my best against English teams." The statistics certainly bore that out: in 11 games against Premier League clubs with AFC Ajax, Juventus, an all-star European XI and FC Internazionale Milano, the 28-year-old had neither scored a goal nor been on a winning side. The first part of that curse was lifted as he registered twice to put his side 2-0 up in north London. However, as the Gunners struck back to draw 2-2, he can only hope his 13th game against an English team – next week's decider at Camp Nou – will prove lucky and finally bring that first win.

Goal: Diego Milito (FC Internazionale Milano)
Wesley Sneijder did the leg-work, with his ball picking out Milito on the edge of the box, but the smart finish was all down to the 30-year-old Argentina striker. "My goal wasn't very easy because there wasn't much room to work with, but the ball fell to me nicely and fortunately I controlled it well and struck the shot nicely," said Milito, struggling to understate his brilliance.

Quote: Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United FC)
"Ferguson warned us about that before the game and in Holland we also know it: the Germans are never really beaten until they are on the bus on the way to the airport."
United's keeper reflects on the last-gasp defeat by FC Bayern München

Rollercoaster ride: Cesc Fàbregas (Arsenal FC)
Despair, joy, despair; that was the story of Fàbregas's night as his side held Barća. First a booking ensured that he would miss the second leg. Then he won and converted the 85th-minute penalty which kept Arsène Wenger's side's UEFA Champions League hopes alive. However, as he explained after the game: "When I took the penalty, I was quite strong, but after, when I went to get the ball, I could not walk any more. It is the fibula. I think I put my leg between Puyol's when I was fouled and kicked it." Sure enough, scans confirmed a hairline fracture meaning he will miss the end of the domestic season, and possibly the FIFA World Cup too.

UEFA Europa League in numbers: 96, 19, 15, 8
More goals have come between minutes 76 and 90 in the UEFA Europa League than at any other time, with Óscar Cardozo, David Villa and Alexander Madlung striking late to raise the total on Thursday.
19 Hamburger SV had 19 shots on target in their 2-1 win over R. Standard de Liège, but only two were made to count in a 2-1 win to leave their quarter-final on a knife-edge.
15 Following their 2-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg, Fulham are now unbeaten in 15 UEFA club home games since making their continental debut in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
8 Óscar Cardozo's two penalties against Liverpool took his tally in the competition this term to eight, one behind leading scorer Claudio Pizarro.

Grumpy old man: David Weir (Rangers FC)
Defender Weir endured a comparably dire night on Tuesday in a game against Saint Johnstone FC in which he become, 41 days shy of his 40th birthday, the oldest player to represent Rangers. However, he was swiftly upstaged, with the Scottish Premier League leaders going down 4-1 in Perth – their heaviest defeat against the Saints in 129 games since 1909. "I don't think anyone could have predicted that result before the game but we didn't do well enough," grumbled Weir.

Glasses raised: Paul Mariner (Plymouth Argyle FC)
Fans of Ipswich Town FC will never forget Mariner, the scruffy striker who helped them win the 1980/81 UEFA Cup and scored nearly 100 league goals for the Portman Road side between 1976 and 1984. However, one fan received a rather exciting Mariner memento when he returned to Ipswich as manager of Plymouth. After his side won 2-0 in the English second-tier game, the 56-year-old threw his tracksuit top into the home crowd as a gesture of friendship, only to realise he had left his spectacles in the pocket. "The tracksuit top might be a decent souvenir but I doubt if my reading glasses would be any good to someone else," he said.

Cup upset: Bulgaria
Second-division sides FC Chernomorets Pomorie, FC Kaliakra Kavarna and FC Chavdar Etropole are all within two games of a place in Europe after a shock series of midweek results left PFC Beroe Stara Zagora as the only top-level outfit still in the running for the Bulgarian Cup when the quarter-finals concluded. The tiny sides benefited from the competition rule guaranteeing teams in a lower league home advantage and they capitalised by eliminating PFC Minior Pernik, PFC Cherno More Varna and PFC Slavia Sofia respectively. Earlier this week Beroe coach Ilian Iliev told he had promised to get the club "back among the best". Not sure if this is exactly what he meant.

Blog: Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal FC)
Worth a visit if you have time on your hands over Easter weekend, Russian dynamo Arshavin's blog has become essential reading for fans of trivia, with the 28-year-old remarkably unguarded in the information he shares with his legion of admirers. Recent Q&A sessions have revealed the colour of his bath sponge (blue), his opinion of body piercings ("I disapprove of it") and how he would feel if asked to appear in Dancing on Ice ("If I took part in this show, it should be renamed A Cow on Ice"). Important to note, for those wishing to court Arshavin's friendship, that cactuses are a no-no. "They are prickly. I remember we had them in kindergarten. We also had some at home. I didn't like them then and I don't like them now."

Last updated: 10/12/12 11.40CET