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Inter and Robben steal the show

Published: Friday 23 April 2010, 11.29CET
Arjen Robben's hot streak continued, FC Internazionale Milano found form and 15-year-old striker Michael Gregoritsch made his father proud – UEFA.com digests the week's news.
by Paul Saffer
Inter and Robben steal the show
Arjen Robben celebrates one of his many goals this week ©Getty Images

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Published: Friday 23 April 2010, 11.29CET

Inter and Robben steal the show

Arjen Robben's hot streak continued, FC Internazionale Milano found form and 15-year-old striker Michael Gregoritsch made his father proud – UEFA.com digests the week's news.

Player: Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München)
Robben did not score in any of Bayern's UEFA Champions League group games; in fact he managed only four goals before Christmas in all competitions following his summer switch from Real Madrid CF. In 2010, however, he has netted 16 times and four of those strikes came this week – a hat-trick in Bayern's 7-0 Bundesliga defeat of Hannover 96, then a long-range effort to beat Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg. Having also hit wonder goals to knock out ACF Fiorentina and Manchester United FC, the Netherlands winger is making a habit of the spectacular. He has now scored more times for Bayern than in two years at Madrid or three with Chelsea FC.

Team: FC Internazionale Milano
Like Bayern, Inter followed up a fine domestic result by establishing a UEFA Champions League lead in midweek. Last Friday's 2-0 win against Juventus kept them within a point of Serie A frontrunners AS Roma, then on Tuesday they became the first team to beat FC Barcelona by more than one goal since Josep Guardiola became coach in summer 2008. The 3-1 victory puts Inter in sight of their first UEFA Champions League final.

Goal: Maicon (FC Internazionale Milano)
He left the Barcelona game on a stretcher after a collision that cost him a tooth, but Inter right-back Maicon would need more than a bang on the head to forget his superb opener against Juventus. It was 0-0 with 15 minutes remaining when the ball dropped from up high towards Maicon just outside the box; he controlled it on his thigh, juggled it three times on his right foot to leave his marker floundering, then looped a volley into the net.

Quote: Josep Guardiola (FC Barcelona)
"It is not the ideal situation for us to travel 14 hours by coach after a league game and before a semi-final against Inter, but you cannot stop a volcano, can you?"

Number: 7
The number of games it took reigning champions AIK Solna to secure their first victory of the 2010 Allsvenskan season – 3-0 at Kalmar FF. That was the longest stretch any Swedish titleholder has required to notch a first win, breaking the record set a year ago by Kalmar, who themselves are still without a victory this term.

Magnanimous gesture: Dionisios Chiotis (APOEL FC)
A piece of Cypriot football history is going to auction after the plight of Maria Moka from Katerini in Greece struck a chord with APOEL's Greek goalkeeper Chiotis. The nine-year-old has a rare form of cancer and needs immediate treatment, with her family desperate to raise nearly €400,000 to take her to a specialist in Texas. Fans and clubs across Cyprus all made donations during the past month, but Chiotis has now made a personal contribution by giving up the shirt he wore in APOEL's 2-2 UEFA Champions League group stage draw at Chelsea last December – perhaps the most impressive result in his team's history – to be auctioned to raise funds. With the shirt signed by Chiotis and bearing the words "with love", bidders have until 30 April to contact the club by calling 00357 22 340 200 or emailing marketing@apoelfc.com.cy to register their interest.

Good son: Michael Gregoritsch (SV Kapfenberg)
Apparently, Gregoritsch was only in the squad for Kapfenberg's Austrian Bundesliga game against FK Austria Wien on 14 April – four days before his 16th birthday – because he had headed a goal in training. Even so, he came off the bench and with his third touch in senior football became the league's youngest-ever scorer. His father, Kapfenberg coach Werner Gregoritsch, said: "Before undergoing cancer surgery 14 years ago, I said it would be the greatest thing for me to be Michael's coach one day and see him score a Bundesliga goal. My son's goal is the fairy tale of this Bundesliga season."

Scoring goalkeepers: Israel
Maccabi Ahi Nazareth FC were headed for defeat in their Israeli Premier League relegation play-off against Hapoel Haifa FC last Saturday when goalkeeper Joslain Mayebi joined the attack and netted a 94th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw. In Israel, though, such exploits seem commonplace: the previous week goalkeeper Tvrtko Kale had nodded in a stoppage-time corner for Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC to beat Hapoel Akko FC 3-2, while Vincent Enyeama, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC's No1, converted a penalty against Hapoel Ramat Gan FC.

Funeral parlour: Saint Johnstone FC
In the current climate, every last bit of cash counts and Scottish Premier League side St Johnstone have unearthed a new revenue stream – hosting funerals at their McDiarmid Park stadium. Said ground is adjacent to the local crematorium and the club now stages up to six solemn ceremonies a day. "I would guess we're the most popular location for funerals in Perth," said meetings and events administrator Fraser Bruce, in a respectful whisper.

Title run-in: KS Dinamo Tirana
Some teams storm to the championship on the back of a thrilling winning run. Or, like Dinamo, they wrap up the title after picking up one point in six games. Obviously Dinamo had built up quite a cushion in order to secure their 18th Albanian crown with four games to go. But they clinched it with a 2-1 home defeat by KS Teuta, having failed to win in the league since 7 March.

Volcano beaters: 1. FC Köln & Fulham FC
European football is too resilient to be denied by a little thing like a flight ban over much of the continent. Köln took their chance of a good deed by offering all passengers stuck at Cologne Bonn Airport free entry to last Friday's Bundesliga match against VfL Bochum 1848 upon presentation of an unused airline ticket. In the event, about 100 grounded travellers turned up. Meanwhile Fulham, on a 17-hour road trip to their UEFA Europa League semi-final at Hamburger SV, were further disrupted by a traffic jam on Germany's A1 motorway caused by an accident. No matter: manager Roy Hodgson ordered his squad off the bus and on to the lay-by for a workout. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said: "It's not ideal preparation but it was good to get out and stretch."

Last updated: 23/04/10 15.58CET

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