Beaten 5-1 at FC Zenit St. Peterburg in their opening Group H game, AEK Athens FC found a much-needed restorative while the Russian side suffered a costly defeat.
Soares strikes again
AEK's 4-1 success against Kallithea FC on 24 October, in their first match at the Olympic Stadium, left them three points clear at the top of the Hellenic National League. Alessandro Soares, the division's leading scorer with five goals, and Nikos Lyberopoulos both struck twice as AEK made it four wins from five. And there were no fresh injury worries for coach Fernando Santos ahead of their next assigment, away to Aris Thessaloniki FC.
Bitter blow for Zenit
As for Zenit, their hopes of landing a first Russian Premier League title faded on Monday as they lost 3-0 at home to leaders PFC CSKA Moskva. Goals from Rolan Gusev, Yuri Zhirkov and Vágner Love consigned Zenit to third place, five points behind CSKA with three games remaining. With the top five so close, Zenit may need to hit form again just to ensure a European place for next season.
LOSC Lille Métropole defender Grégory Tafforeau missed the 1-0 reverse at Toulouse FC because of the arm injury he sustained in the defeat at TSV Alemannia Aachen three days earlier. That result had brought Lille crashing down to earth after a five-match winning streak in France's Ligue 1, while the Toulouse loss left them a point behind Olympique Lyonnais at the top. While Tafforeau should be back next weekend, Mathieu Chalmé's fractured cheekbone will sideline him at least two weeks longer.
Aachen move up
Aachen followed up their Matchday 1 triumph by moving to second place from third in Germany's 2. Bundesliga thanks to a 3-1 home victory against 1. FC Saarbrücken. Dieter Hecking's men were 2-0 ahead at the break through Reiner Plasshenrich and Kai Michalke, and Erik Meijer added a third on 73 minutes. A satisfactory afternoon's work was completed when Hecking reported no knocks for his players.
Sevilla on song
Sevilla FC, yet to open their group-stage campaign, climbed into second place in Spain's Primera División with a 2-1 win against Club Atlético de Madrid. Aitor Ocio from a free-kick and Julio Baptista were on target for the hosts, for whom midfielder Diego Capel made his debut and thus became the second-youngest player in the club's history, aged 16 years and seven months. Sevilla, with five wins and one defeat from eight league outings, trail leaders FC Barcelona by five points.
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