FedEx Performance Zone: Viergever ascendant

Final ambassador Patrik Andersson takes a look at the latest standings in the UEFA Europa League form tracker, with Nick Viergever and Talisca hitting the heights on Thursday night.

Tunnel of love: Nick Viergever celebrates Ajax's success
Tunnel of love: Nick Viergever celebrates Ajax's success ©Getty Images

Celta's Iago Aspas and Lyon's Corentin Tolisso are one and two, but Ajax's Nick Viergever and Beşiktaş's brilliant Talisca surged up the UEFA Europa League form rankings on Thursday night.

3: Nick Viergever (Ajax)
All seemed lost for Ajax, trailing 3-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate in extra time with only ten men, when Viergever popped up in the 111th minute to score at Schalke. It was a second goal in five days for the central defender, who has been filling in at left-back. Nine interceptions, eight clearances, and four tackles won further enhanced his position.

Highlights: Watch Beşiktaş-Lyon penalty drama
Highlights: Watch Beşiktaş-Lyon penalty drama

4: Talisca (Beşiktaş)
The Black Eagles were edged out by Lyon on penalties, yet would not have got that far even but for the Brazilian playmaker. Two goals on the night took his tally to four in his last four matches and he was Beşiktaş's driving force with ten attempts at goal.

"We didn't qualify even though we won," he said. "Penalty shoot-outs come down to luck. One team had to miss out, and unluckily it was us. We'll keep working in the Turkish Super League. I scored my first goal with my right foot; I hadn't done that for a long time."

7: Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon)
Lyon won their quarter-final by the finest of margins but Lacazette would have finished it earlier with a bit more luck. As well as scoring, the French international forward hit the woodwork twice, one effort rattling the inside of the post and somehow still coming back out.

Highlights: Watch Rashford's extra-time winner for United
Highlights: Watch Rashford's extra-time winner for United

8: Paul Pogba (Man. United)
An influential figure, Pogba rose 14 places in the rankings as United overcame Anderlecht in overtime. Seven aerial duels won, six tackles won, three chances created, four attempts on goal, and 38 of his 108 completed passes in the final third – that tells you just how involved the midfielder was.

14th: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man. United)
A goal in each leg helped the Armenian attacker rocket up 29 places in the rankings. Along with his opening goal in the second leg, he was constantly probing to find a winner, producing nine crosses and six dribbles, and carving out five chances.

Highlights: See how Ajax dramatically denied Schalke
Highlights: See how Ajax dramatically denied Schalke

26th: Marcus Rashford (Man. United)
Two huge goals in his last two games have helped prodigy Marcus Rashford ascend 75 places. He also supplied the assist for Mkhitaryan's opener against Anderlecht and chipped in with eight crosses and seven dribbles, though it was his extra-time strike that really proved decisive.

38th: Martínez Ruben (Anderlecht)
An inspired performance from the on-loan Spanish goalkeeper kept Anderlecht afloat until extra time. Despite his appearances being restricted to UEFA Europa League only, Ruben had an outstanding match, making eight saves overall – seven from shots struck inside his area.

Patrik Andersson's view
The tournament will be less colourful for Talisca's absence from the semis, but it is good that the world will get to see a little more of Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette – and United's Marcus Rashford, for that matter, who is a dogged one as well as a gifted player. We lost only one of our three remaining Swedes (Anderlecht's Isaac Kiese Thelin), with Celta Vigo's John Guidetti and Zlatan Ibrahimović getting through, though he limped out of United's game injured. The Stockholm final will be that little bit sweeter if a local boy has the chance to make good.

Patrik Andersson is a former Bayern München, Barcelona and Borussia Mönchengladbach defender. He won 96 caps for Sweden, reaching the semi-finals of EURO '92 and the 1994 FIFA World Cup, and was part of the Bayern side that won the UEFA Champions League in 2001 – he made the user's Team of the Year that year.