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Ducks, dogs and goals for Gómez

Published: Friday 5 November 2010, 11.52CET
Olympique de Marseille, Mario Gómez, Fábio Coentrão and Filippo Inzaghi all made their mark this week while Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder impressed us with their wit.
by Paul Saffer
Ducks, dogs and goals for Gómez
Mario Gómez was on storming form for Bayern in Romania ©Getty Images

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Published: Friday 5 November 2010, 11.52CET

Ducks, dogs and goals for Gómez

Olympique de Marseille, Mario Gómez, Fábio Coentrão and Filippo Inzaghi all made their mark this week while Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder impressed us with their wit.

Team: Olympique de Marseille
Marseille's build-up to their UEFA Champions League Group F trip to MŠK Žilina was hardly ideal – their Ligue 1 fixture with Stade Rennais FC was postponed first on Saturday and then Sunday due to heavy rain. Maybe the rest did them good in Slovakia as they were four up within 36 minutes and went on to secure a competition-record away win of 7-0, André-Pierre Gignac scoring a hat-trick. "I expected a tough game but nothing like this," Žilina coach Pavel Hapal said.

Player: Mario Gómez (FC Bayern München)
Gómez had mixed fortunes last season after his €35m move from VfB Stuttgart, and began this season behind Ivica Olić, Thomas Müller and Miroslav Klose in the pecking order. But a hat-trick against Hannover 96 on 16 October began a surge in form and on Wednesday he managed another treble at CFR 1907 Cluj for a 4-0 win that sent Bayern through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16. "It's great that we have a striker like Mario Gómez," coach Louis van Gaal said. "I've adjusted our style of play so it suits his game better."

Goal: Fábio Coentrão (SL Benfica)
Benfica stormed back into UEFA Champions League contention with a 4-3 defeat of Olympique Lyonnais. At one stage they were four up and the goal that ultimately kept them out of Lyon's reach, Coentrão's second, was a superb mix of swift counterattacking and cool finishing. The move actually began when home goalkeeper Roberto clawed a Lyon corner away from the Benfica line. The break was on and within ten seconds Coentrão was sent clear and with his first touch lobbed Hugo Lloris from well outside the box.

Quote: Rafael Benítez (FC Internazionale Milano)
"Some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar." Benítez's defence of his signings when at Liverpool FC has introduced a new idiom into the English language (along with "look at that Welshman speeding down the Tottenham left").

Number: 70, Filippo Inzaghi (AC Milan)
Inzaghi scored twice to turn a Milan deficit to Real Madrid CF into a 2-1 lead only cancelled out at the death. That took his personal tally of UEFA club competition goals to 70, drawing him level with former Madrid man Raúl González at the top of the all-time list. With both Milan and FC Schalke 04 both poised to go through, this duel has plenty of life in it.

Celebration (abandoned): Manuel Arboleda (KKS Lech Poznań)
Lech's 3-1 defeat of Manchester City FC was perhaps the pick of the UEFA Europa League results on Thursday and Arboleda – inadvertently – set up the victory by restoring the Polish side's lead on 86 minutes. Yet the celebration was as curious as the goal. "I promised my daughter watching in the stands that I would do the Shakira dance for her if I scored – we practice at home," he told UEFA.com. "This time I started to dance, but could not finish because of pain in my leg. After scoring I got injured and that is why my dance was not so spectacular this time."

Duck unpleasantness: Habib Habibou (SV Zulte Waregem)
Zulte Waregem were playing KSC Lokeren OV when a duck invaded the pitch. Goalkeeper Jugoslav Lazić hesitated but home forward Habibou acted swiftly to throw said bird over the advertising hoardings, to the dismay of animal lovers. "I will never do this again," a contrite Habibou promised. "My apologies to anyone I have upset." But no lasting damage was done. "That little animal is unhurt and is doing all right," Zulte Waregem general manager Vincent Mannaert assured the nation.

Peace offering: Zinédine Zidane & Marco Materazzi
We are not even going to explain the context, as we cannot believe anyone reading does not know, but old rivals Zidane and Materazzi came face to face in a hotel ahead of the Milan v Madrid game. Eyewitnesses said they were slightly taken aback, then a hand was offered, pleasantries exchanged and after an embrace they went on their way. Heartwarming.

Takeover: Bedlington Terriers FC
The ninth-tier English club are one of the very few in senior football to be named after a breed of dog, have received a financial boost to make most clubs sit up and beg. The appropriately named American businessman Robert Rich, one of the 500 wealthiest men in the world, has invested in the club after tracing his roots to the town, his wife having bought him the title 'Lord of Bedlington'. He has sponsored the club's shirts and bought a €34,000 scoreboard. "I'm still learning about British football, and I understand that if they do well they can move up divisions," Rich said.

Banter: Rafael van der Vaart & Wesley Sneijder
What is the best thing about being a footballer? Almost certainly what the British call 'banter', humorous and sometimes bawdy conversation. Take Netherlands and former club-mates Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder, matched as Tottenham Hotspur FC faced Inter, provoking an exchange of 'banter' on Twitter.

Sneijder: "I'm cleaning the Champions League trophy with a Tottenham shirt."
Van der Vaart: "Thanks for cleaning it for me. I'm already creating space in my cabinet."
Sneijder: "We're gonna give you a football lesson in London."
Van der Vaart: "I met your defence in Milan, it didn't look good. It was like cheese with holes in."

And so it went on ... Sneijder explained: "We both started at Ajax as young kids so we understand each other."

Last updated: 04/01/11 4.33CET

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