Player: Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea FC)
Cometh the hour, cometh Superman. Chelsea's meeting with Club Atlético de Madrid was 18-minutes-old when Petr Čech suffered a season-ending dislocated shoulder that left the Blues' hopes resting on the creaking shoulders of Schwarzer. "I was warming up and it was a little bit like, 'OK, this is going to be interesting'," said the second oldest player to grace the competition after standing firm to earn a 0-0 draw.
"But it was great. Even at my tender age of 41 you can still experience something new and to play in a Champions League semi-final was fantastic." It was only his second appearance in the competition, having become the oldest debutant in December, and temporarily earned him the sobriquet Superman. "Did you not see me rip off my pants?" the age-defying Schwarzer said. Nobody likes a show-off, Mark.
Team: PEC Zwolle
Zwolle stunned AFC Ajax last Sunday when they recovered from a goal down to defeat the Eredivisie leaders 5-1 in the Dutch Cup final. Runners-up in 1928 and 1977, they will play European football for the first time next season after their maiden cup success, sealed by two goals apiece from Ryan Thomas and Guyon Fernandez and a Bram van Polen strike.
The club's celebrations were emotional for coach Ron Jans. The 55-year-old first amazed fans at a public celebration the following day with a dance akin to a 1970s skinhead moonstomp, before tearfully dedicating the success to his father. "One of the most beautiful things for me in Zwolle, is that in front of me is sitting a man in a wheelchair – because he has a bit of problems with walking – and that is my father," said Jans. "Can I ask you to give a huge round of applause for Dries, crazy Dries Jans." Perhaps not the only eccentric in that family.
Goal: Lima (SL Benfica)
Kudos to Real Madrid CF's Karim Benzema for scoring the only goal in four men's and women's UEFA Champions League semi-finals this week, but in terms of style, substitute Lima's rasping winner in SL Benfica's 2-1 UEFA Europa League victory against Juventus scoops the prize. Having scored the goals that secured a 33rd Portuguese title for the Eagles on Sunday, Lima came off the bench to power into the roof of Gianlugi Buffon's net from the edge of the box.
"I tried to read the whole move I and saw that Enzo [Pérez] passed the ball to Ivan [Cavaleiro]," Lima told UEFA.com. "I thought that the ball could go through that space and I was already prepared to take a powerful shot. Fortunately I got it right."
Cliftonville FC claimed back-to-back titles for the first time in their 135-year history with a 2-0 win against Portadown FC on Tuesday, but celebrations began on Saturday when striker Joe Gormley hit his 37th goal of the season in all competitions in a 5-0 victory against Glenavon FC, breaking the club record of 36 set by strike partner Liam Boyce last year. The 24-year-old celebrated in delightfully literal style; running to the crowd, he was handed an LP record which he snapped in two.
"Not even 100 great saves could compare with the feeling of scoring that goal. We were behind in the last minute and I looked over at coach Juande Ramos who gave me the nod to join our attack for a corner. I stood on the penalty spot and saw that Dani Alves's cross was coming towards me. I spun my head towards the ball and noticed that their goalkeeper wasn't going to get there. I didn't know how to celebrate."
Andrés Palop, who announced his retirement this week, recalls scoring for Sevilla FC against FC Shakhtar Donetsk en route to winning the UEFA Cup in 2007
You're fired/you're not: Dejan Vukičević (FC Dacia Chisinau)
Montenegrin coach Vukičević could have been excused a raised eyebrow after he was dismissed as Dacia coach in the wake of a 2-1 loss to FC Costuleni at the weekend; hired in the winter, his side had been on a nine-match winning run, and had not conceded a league goal in their previous eight games. The club's hot-tempered president Adlan Shishkhanov, however, rapidly saw sense, re-hiring Vukičević after admitting his emotions had got the better of him. "I took the right decision by doing as the team asked with just five matches to go," the Russian businessman said. "Had they asked me to appoint the devil himself as coach, I would have done so."
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