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Hitmen and Pitmen shake up Europe

Published: Friday 26 October 2012, 8.58CET
Dramas, bananas, hit-and-miss Spaniards and another remarkable FC Shakhtar Donetsk display get their due as coughs up its top moments of the last seven days.

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Published: Friday 26 October 2012, 8.58CET

Hitmen and Pitmen shake up Europe

Dramas, bananas, hit-and-miss Spaniards and another remarkable FC Shakhtar Donetsk display get their due as coughs up its top moments of the last seven days.

Player: Roberto Soldado (Valencia CF)
Midfielder Edgar Olekhnovich said FC BATE Borisov made "schoolboy errors" as they lost 3-0 to Valencia CF in Group F on Tuesday, but it took a class act to punish those mistakes, with Roberto Soldado scoring the only UEFA Champions League hat-trick of matchday three in Minsk. "To score goals in this tournament is always wonderful," said the 27-year-old, who registered his maiden treble in the competition in a 7-0 defeat of KRC Genk last season. Local paper Las Provincias hailed Soldado and his team-mates as they earned their first away win under coach Mauricio Pellegrino. "Valencia showed their teeth, sharpened their instincts and, most importantly, came out to play," it wrote.

Team: FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Mircea Lucescu's side are breaking hearts as well as records this season. Having set a new standard with victories in their first 12 Ukrainian Premier League games of the campaign (they have now won their last 21 domestic fixtures – 26 if you include cup and super cup games), the Pitmen showed they are European contenders too, beating Chelsea FC 2-1 at home in Group E on Tuesday. "If it wasn't for Petr Čech, who saved Chelsea several times, it would have been much worse for them," said defender Olexandr Kucher, telling no lie. "It proves we're on the right track," added their Romanian coach. "We are still growing."

Goal: Kostas Mitroglou (Olympiacos FC)
The Greeks invented drama, and Olympiacos remain great exponents of it, with substitute Kostas Mitroglou striking in added time to snatch a 2-1 Group B win at Montpellier Hérault SC on Wednesday. Goalkeeper Roy Carroll concluded: "After coming back to score twice in the second half, hopefully the boys will say to themselves that we can go somewhere in this Champions League, because our ambition remains to go through to the knockout stage."

"Many would say that the biggest joy in life is the birth of a son or a daughter, but you have nine months to prepare yourself for that moment and you know when it's coming. Goals come from nowhere and as such the joy of a goal is incomparable."
Ferenc Horváth, coach of Hungarian side Kecskeméti TE muses on the mystic power of goals after being mocked for his expansive celebrations on the touchline.

Number: 1 in 24 had already warned José Mourinho's team that Real Madrid CF tend to have a miserable time on German soil, and so it proved once more as a Marcel Schmelzer goal condemned the Liga champions to a 2-1 defeat at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. Sports daily AS wrote: "Germany is and remains hellish terrain for the Merengues. One victory in 24 visits make it the only fortress that is almost impregnable to the nine-time European champions." Jürgen Klopp's men top Group D, and the coach said: "Everything that was said about this group before the competition started is nonsense. Ajax were meant to finish last and we were predicted to come third."

Champion league: Bundesliga
In terms of the big-five nations, German were the clear winners on matchday three, with FC Bayern München labouring to a 1-0 victory at LOSC Lille on Tuesday before Dortmund and – with a 2-0 triumph at Arsenal FC – FC Schalke 04 completed a Bundesliga clean sweep. Indeed,'s Steffen Potter could hear the Dortmund players singing in the showers long after the final whistle at the BVB Stadion Dortmund. Meanwhile, following Arsenal's first European home loss to foreign opposition since a 3-0 defeat by FC Internazionale Milano in 2003, German tabloid BILD reported: "After the final whistle 3,500 Schalke fans in London chanted: 'Top of the table, top of the table!'" Given the deafening silence around north London, you could probably hear them in Gelsenkirchen.

No1 fan: Jesper Hansen (FC Nordsjælland)
The Farum club's 1-1 Group E draw with Juventus was a momentous occasion, but goalkeeper Jesper Hansen took time out from his celebrations to introduce himself to one of his idols – his 34-year-old opposite number Gianluigi Buffon. "Afterwards I told Gianluigi that he was my hero and it was an honour to face him," the 27-year-old said. "He replied that it made him feel very old." Another starstruck custodian was Celtic FC's Fraser Forster, who just about managed to restrain himself from asking for autographs during his side's cruel 2-1 Group G loss at FC Barcelona. "Sometimes you have to pinch yourself," he said. "To be playing against a guy of Messi's quality is just unbelievable."

Comeback king: Joaquin (Málaga CF)
The Málaga attacker has got so used to highs and lows in the last seven days that it is hard to think he has not been missing penalties for attention. Having fluffed his spot kick in Saturday's Liga fixture against Real Valladolid CF before recovering to net a late winner in the ensuing 2-1 triumph, the former Spanish international found the top of the crossbar with his subsequent penalty against AC Milan on Wednesday before notching the only goal of the Group C game in the 64th minute. "Keeping focused and calm after missing a penalty isn't easy, particularly as that was my second miss in two matches," the 31-year-old said. "Your heart is beating at a thousand miles an hour, but you stay cold-blooded, you work and I was sure another chance would come my way. Fortunately I took it. It was fantastic."

Drama queen: Verónica Boquete (Spain)
Oddly, Joaquín was not the only Spaniard to experience such emotions on Wednesday. With Spain's UEFA Women's EURO 2013 play-off against Scotland having gone into extra time in Madrid, Verónica Boquete was given the chance to fire her team to next summer's finals in Sweden when they were awarded a 119th-minute penalty. Her effort was saved by Gemma Fay. Incredibly, though, the No9 then popped up deep into added time to score the goal that earned a 3-2 victory and 4-3 aggregate success. "'Strange' is not the word to express how I am feeling right now," she said. "It's completely inexplicable. I'm not sure if winning [with the last kick of the game] makes it that much sweeter. We'd have opted for a simpler passage through than that."

Mummy's boy: Ángel Di María (Real Madrid CF)
Last Sunday was Mother's Day in Argentina and, as is customary, national celebrities' mums were sought out for comment, with Diana Hernández – mother of Madrid attacker Ángel Di María – delivering a suitably graphic portrait of her little cherub. "From an early age my son was so hyperactive that our doctor told us he had to do a sport to calm him down," she said. "Instead of karate, we preferred football for Angelito." She also recalled how her boy would often end the day exhausted and covered from head to toe in soot after helping his father lift bags of coal. "Nowadays, if I see that he is tired, I say to him: 'Son, eat more bananas – they will do you good.'"

Last updated: 04/12/13 19.09CET