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Debuts, toilet dashes and training camp clashes

Published: Friday 10 February 2012, 9.16CET
Out-of-the-ordinary debuts, a record-breaking FC Utrecht team, cat fights and broken cheekbones; UEFA.com digests another seven days of weird and wonderful footballing stories.

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Published: Friday 10 February 2012, 9.16CET

Debuts, toilet dashes and training camp clashes

Out-of-the-ordinary debuts, a record-breaking FC Utrecht team, cat fights and broken cheekbones; UEFA.com digests another seven days of weird and wonderful footballing stories.

Player: Martín Cáceres (Juventus)
The versatile Uruguayan defender was the unlikely hero for the Bianconeri as they recorded a 2-1 win against AC Milan to take control of their Coppa Italia semi-final. On loan from Sevilla FC, Cáceres was making his second debut for Juventus after the Italian outfit chose not to make permanent his first loan from FC Barcelona in 2009/10, and he is clearly keen to impress in Turin this time round. The 24-year-old scored two second-half goals to put Juve in a good position for the return leg at home, including a stunning 83rd-minute winner where he found the top-left corner with a curling right-footed effort from outside the area. If he keeps up this form, Juventus will not let him go again.

Goal: Papiss Demba Cissé (Newcastle United FC)
Cissé was the Premier League's most expensive January signing, but owing to the Africa Cup of Nations, the Toon Army were forced to wait from 17 January until last Sunday to see the Senegalese striker in action. Cissé proved that good things come to those who wait, rewarding the fans with a wonderful 71st-minute winner against Aston Villa FC, sending a perfect left-footed half-volley flying into the top corner from just inside the area. "It was boys' annual stuff, that goal," said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew. "Any Magpies fan would've been nudging their mates and saying, 'We've got a good 'un here'."

Team: FC Utrecht
Two goals from Utrecht's Edouard Duplan put AFC Ajax to the sword this week, enabling the Eredivisie's 15th-placed side to set an unlikely record. Until Saturday, no team had completed a league double over Ajax in consecutive seasons. Indeed, until then only Feyenoord had beaten the Amsterdam club four times in a row in the league, but that was over three seasons between May 1960 and October 1961. "It is good to enter the history books," said Utrecht coach Jan Wouters, once a midfielder for Ajax as well as Utrecht.

Quote:
"We can consider this a miracle."
UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 ambassador Robert Jarni on Croatia's run to the semi-finals of the competition.

Number: 6,780,000
A record total of 6.78 million fans attended Bundesliga games in the first half of the 2011/12 season; an average of 44,345 spectators per match and a rise of 7% on last season. The 2. Bundesliga, meanwhile, saw a remarkable attendance increase of 27%. Oddly, in last weekend's German top tier, not one of the nine clubs playing at home was able to register a win. This has happened only five times in Bundesliga history, the last time in February 1998. Things worsened for home sides in midweek, when all of the home teams in the German Cup quarter-finals were eliminated, failing to register a single goal between them.

First impression: Florin Calin (FC Rapid Bucureşti)
Promising 18-year-old Calin made a cracking impression when called up to Rapid's winter training camp, leaping for a challenge with fellow midfielder Dan Alexa and fracturing the cheekbone of the veteran, dubbed 'the surgeon' in Romania due to his tough-as-teak reputation. Calin may have feared the worst, but his act of aggression went down well with his Rapid team-mates. Calin said: "Everybody encouraged me. Alexa told me to have the same attitude to every player, regardless of their reputation, and be just as aggressive. He also said to be careful not to get sent off."

Fighting talk: Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund)
Dortmund midfielder Grosskreutz pulled no punches when interviewed after his side took over top spot in Germany from faltering FC Bayern München. "Bayern have said that they have more class than us – they should show it," gloated Grosskreutz, whose team are two points clear at the Bundesliga summit. It might not be wise to rile the 22-time German champions.

Top cat: Kenny (Liverpool FC)
A cat which took centre stage at the Premier League clash between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC has become an internet sensation after acquiring more than 20,000 Twitter followers on a spoof account. One tweet read: "Milk is so expensive at football stadiums, it's an epic swindle." However, fame brings enemies and Wimblydon, Manchester City FC's club cat, tore into his Anfield rival in an 'interview' on his club's website, purring: "I feel he's let the cats of England down and I don't doubt there is a claws in his contract saying what he did was wrong." Meow.

Running battle: Mushaga Bakenga (Club Brugge KV)
Bakenga had an unforgettable debut in Club Brugge KV's 5-1 win against Beerschot AC – and not just because he got his name on the scoresheet. The 19-year-old Norwegian forward, signed from Rosenborg BK in January, had to rush from the pitch at the end of the first half, with stomach cramps alerting him to a toilet emergency. "Never in my life have I run so fast," said Bakenga. "I did not have time to explain to the coach what was up. Luckily, I just made it in time." He was substituted two minutes after the break, and admitted: "I did not see any of the second half."

Lucky Charm: Neil Lennon (Celtic FC)
Celtic saw one of their own pick up some silverware last weekend, as big Hoops fan Lawrence Tynes helped NFL side the New York Giants to a second Super Bowl win in four years. Bhoys boss Lennon sent Tynes a signed Celtic shirt before the match, and it proved a lucky charm as the specialist kicker scored two field goals and a conversion in a 21-17 win against the New England Patriots. "The past couple of months I’ve just focused on our football, but once the season's over, I can get back on the internet and start following Celtic again," said Tynes.

Last updated: 05/12/13 19.11CET

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