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Van Persie sparkles, Dons done good

Published: Friday 21 March 2014, 9.49CET
Robin van Persie dug Manchester United FC out of a deep hole and Aberdeen FC put The Human League back in the pop charts; reflects on seven days of marvels.

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Published: Friday 21 March 2014, 9.49CET

Van Persie sparkles, Dons done good

Robin van Persie dug Manchester United FC out of a deep hole and Aberdeen FC put The Human League back in the pop charts; reflects on seven days of marvels.

Player: Robin van Persie (Manchester United FC)
The Netherlands forward picked the right moment to hit form as he struck a clinical hat-trick to help United overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Olympiacos FC in the round of 16 and secure a UEFA Champions League quarter-final place. With just one goal in this season's competition before Wednesday, last season's Premier League top scorer broke the deadlock by winning a penalty and converting from the spot before sliding in a second from close range and completing his treble with a wicked free-kick. "Only certain players in the world are capable of scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League," said grateful manager David Moyes. "Robin van Persie is one of them. He was great tonight."

Team: Aberdeen FC
This week the Dons celebrated lifting their first trophy since 1995, beating Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC 4-2 on penalties in Sunday's Scottish League Cup final after a 0-0 draw at Celtic Park. However, fans greeted their success with a tribute to an injured hero, singing "Peter Pawlett baby" (to the tune of The Human League's Don't You Want Me). "Having to miss the cup final was hugely disappointing but the fans were fantastic with me after the game," winger Pawlett said. "To hear them all singing the song and chanting my name was an unbelievable feeling." The Human League were themselves shocked that the Aberdeen supporters' enthusiasm had helped to push their 1981 hit back up to the top five in the British iTunes chart. "As we believe the saying goes in Aberdeen ... Come on you Reds!" read a band statement.

Goal: Hulk (FC Zenit)
A thunderbolt from the best part of 25 metres, Hulk's effort gave Zenit the lead against Borussia Dortmund in Germany on Wednesday, and briefly the Russian side hoped they might be able to turn around their 4-2 round of 16 deficit from the home leg. As it was, they could only win 2-1. "After I scored I thought something might be possible, but we didn't follow it up with a second and instead conceded the equaliser," shrugged Brazil forward Hulk. However, team-mate Axel Witsel was at least proud of the way Zenit bowed out of the UEFA Champions League, saying: "We go out with heads held high. We played well and we won – it's just a pity we couldn't do the same in the first leg."

Number: 371
FC Barcelona posted a 7-0 Liga home victory over CA Osasuna last Sunday, with Lionel Messi's treble taking him to 371 goals for the club (friendly games included), breaking the record of 369 set by Paulino Alcántara between 1912 and 1927. "The most important thing is that the team continues making history," Messi said afterwards. "This group has won everything and deserves to go on achieving great things."

"[A reception like that] shows you have achieved something at a club. It was very nice, it was a great feeling."
Striker Didier Drogba, who was presented with a silver boot as he returned to Chelsea FC with current club Galatasaray AŞ.

Derby mascot: Eran Zahavi (Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC)
Zahavi struck twice at the death to round off a hat-trick and seal a 3-2 derby win at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC for ten-man Maccabi Tel-Aviv. The 26-year-old has played for both clubs and holds the unusual distinction of having never lost a derby – a statistic which looked at risk on Monday. 'The Gunman' put the Israeli Premier League leaders in front on 34 minutes, but Hapoel roared back after Rade Prica's dismissal, making it 2-1 on 86 minutes. Zahavi was not done, though, converting an 89th-minute penalty and then clinching matters with a silky shot to send coach Paulo Sousa scampering out of his dugout. "We believed," Zahavi beamed. "After I made it 2-2, I told [strike partner] Barak Badash that if he gave me one more ball I would score again."

Goal rush: Wigan Athletic FC v Yeovil Town FC
If three goals in the last four minutes represented a pretty exciting derby finale in Tel Aviv, it was nothing compared with the midweek meeting of Wigan Athletic FC and struggling Yeovil Town FC in England's second division – where five were scored between the 82nd minute and the final whistle, the Glovers notching three of them to earn a valuable 3-3 away draw. On-loan Ishmael Miller – who netted two of Yeovil's goals – said: "It was crazy and probably one of the weirdest, craziest, most emotional games I've been part of. I don't think anyone would've gone in at half-time thinking it would've been 3-3, but obviously it's football."

Speech: Enosis Neon Paralimni FC
Al Pacino's abilities as a football coach have been dealt something of a blow after a video of his inspiring – and swear-word heavy – speech from the American football-themed film Any Given Sunday was played to Enosis's players before their must-win Cypriot First Division trip to Ethnikos Achnas FC on Wednesday. The ensuing 1-1 draw condemned Enosis to relegation for the first time since 1968 – a bitter blow given how close they came to saving themselves. Winger Zion Tzemah said: "I arrived in January when the team were 14 points from safety and we ended up one point from safety. We almost achieved the impossible but it still hurts." As Al Pacino said: "That's football, guys. That's all it is. Now, whattaya gonna do?"

Last updated: 21/03/14 12.57CET