Team: Olympiacos FC
In beating Levadiakos FC 2-0 last Saturday, Olympiacos kept their fifth successive clean sheet in all competitions. Eleven points clear at the top, the Piraeus team have shipped just six goals in their 20 Greek Super League games, figures that equate to conceding once every 300 minutes – the best defensive record of any side in a UEFA domestic league this season.
Such steeliness puts Olympiacos on course to better their own domestic record for miserly defending, set when their back line was breached only 13 times in 1972/73. "Just look at how few we have conceded," said coach Míchel. "Focus – in attack and defence – and possession are key features of our game."
Player: Mario Muscat (Hibernians FC)
Mario Muscat said he was "honoured to have done this with only one club – my beloved Hibernians" after making his record-breaking 485th Maltese Premier League appearance. The 37-year-old goalkeeper passed David Camilleri's figure on 11 January, the latest achievement in a career of astonishing dedication.
While midfielder Camilleri played for six teams, Muscat is a one-club man, having spent 21 seasons with Hibernians. Capped 68 times by Malta up until 2009, Muscat's CV has justified his loyalty to the Hibs cause: four league titles, five Maltese Cups and the Maltese player of the year award in 1997/98, making him one of just two keepers to receive that accolade.
Goal: Edin Džeko (Manchester City FC)
Not a classic, perhaps, but the Bosnia and Herzegovina forward's 14th-minute opener in Manchester City's 4-2 home victory over Cardiff City FC last Saturday was doubly significant. The first goal in the English top flight to be awarded with the aid of goal-line technology, it was also City's 100th in 34 games in all competitions this term – the quickest century of strikes in the Premier League era.
Džeko's scuffed shot from David Silva's cutback set City up for their 14th win in as many domestic home fixtures in 2013/14. Seemingly unstoppable on their own patch, Manuel Pellegrini's men have registered five or more goals in a match at the City of Manchester Stadium seven times this season.
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Undead: Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona)
Soon after tweeting a photo of himself watching his favourite zombie-based television show The Walking Dead, defender Gerard Piqué received a surprise offer from a female fan dressed in full zombie costume who held up a banner during Barcelona's recent scoreless draw at Club Atlético de Madrid: "Piqué, if you give me your number, I'll turn you into a zombie. Another #zombiefan," it read.
The Barça No3 later responded: "If it's really you and you can make me look scary, I accept!" An eventual meeting led to Piqué being transformed into something akin to an extra from The Walking Dead. For her trouble, the makeup artist received not the centre-back's number but his mobile phone as a thank you.
Pensioner: Hyaban Kürt (Adelphosyni FC)
Hyaban Kürt, 69, showed the younger players at Rhodes-based Adelphosyni FC a thing or two after being drafted in as an emergency substitute in a Dodecanese third division game last Sunday. The Greek club were several men down as they took on Polystratos Laermon FC the day after their new year's party – so president Mehmet Zamantakis called on Kürt, part of Adelphosyni's veterans squad, to fill the gap.
"I had shown up to help the lads train," Kürt explained. "I came off the bench in the 35th minute. I train all year round to be ready for veterans matches so my physical condition is good – relatively speaking." So it proved, even if the striker was hastily converted into a defender for the game. "After the match, the president told me to keep the kit and arranged for me to be issued with a player's registration," Kürt added. "I will keep on playing as long as they need me."
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