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What else is happening in European football?

Published: Wednesday 14 December 2016, 9.00CET
The New Saints are the best team in Europe, a one-legged man wins Scotland's goal of the month and Christmas carols bring misery for Portadown's new manager.
What else is happening in European football?
The New Saints celebrate their title success ©Mark Pitman

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Published: Wednesday 14 December 2016, 9.00CET

What else is happening in European football?

The New Saints are the best team in Europe, a one-legged man wins Scotland's goal of the month and Christmas carols bring misery for Portadown's new manager.

Who are the best team in Europe?
Easy. Wales's The New Saints. The Oswestry-based club have won all 17 league matches this season, averaging 3.71 goals per game, as they stride towards an unprecedented treble-treble. TNS's Greg Draper (10) and Chris Seargeant (9) lead the Welsh Premier League scoring charts, but the fact 16 different players have been on target for the Saints this term emphasises their strength-in-depth.

"The whole team has been outstanding this year," explained manager Craig Harrison. "We've got about four or five players now who haven't won anything before with TNS, so there's an added freshness and a hunger to the squad, and that's been proven by the run we've been on."

©Vijesti

Ivan Jablan celebrates a Grbalj goal

Montenegro's man for all seasons
The Montenegrin First League has gone into its winter break, giving Ivan Jablan a few months to enjoy a unique achievement, having this autumn become the only player to have scored in all 11 post-independence Montenegrin seasons – for Petrovac, Lovćen and now Grbalj.

"It's nice to look back and see that I made a mark," said the 37-year-old forward, the league's third-highest scorer with 73 goals, behind Žarko Korać (82) and Admir Adrović (75). "I was here from the start; a lot of players got the chance to go abroad, but I don't regret spending my career in my home country. As soon as I am not the first one at training and the last one to leave, I will know my time has come to retire."

Christmas block-in
In Northern Ireland, new Portadown manager Niall Currie was forced to drag out the pain of losing his opening game in charge. Cliftonville defeated the visiting Ports 1-0 at the weekend, and by the time Currie had trudged out to the car park, he realised his sorry commute home would be delayed quite significantly.

The reason? One of Cliftonville's players had blocked him in after being drafted to participate in the hosts' Christmas carol service. "It was the icing on the cake," Currie told UEFA.com. "I just wanted to leave as soon as I could. Having a carol service as a football club is a lovely thing for the community, but it didn't put me in the mood for singing!"

Panenka's penalty from 1976

Panenka passes 100 goals, aged 68
EURO '76 hero Antonín Panenka celebrated turning 68 on 2 December by being officially admitted to the exclusive club of Czech players to have scored 100 or more league goals. Although Panenka struck 76 for Bohemians Praha from 1967–81, the magazine that organises club membership belatedly decided to change the rules, ensuring that league goals scored abroad before 1991 now count – giving Panenka a sudden boost of 63, registered for Rapid Wien, and 139 in total.

"When I played in charity games for the top scorers' club, I always had a strange feeling I wasn't eligible," smiled Panenka, one of nine players to benefit from the rule change. "Now I know everything was above board."

One-legged fan scores Scotland's goal of the month
Dundee United supporter and amputee footballer Tommy McKay's Panenka-worthy penalty during a recent half-time shoot-out at Tannadice took 80% of the vote in the Scottish Professional Football League's monthly poll. "You will never know how much this means to me and my family and I am eternally grateful," the 32-year-old said.

What the magic of the cup looks like in France
Amateur side Biarritz were lined up to face Ligue 1's Rennes in the French Cup last week; a local reporter captured their excitement as they watched the draw in their social club. Nice dog, too.

Our favourite quote of the week
"He is 190 cm tall and is handsome. He will help us when we have a lot of luggage to carry."
Steaua coach Laurențiu Reghecampf defends his decision to sign out-of-sorts forward Alexandru Tudorie

©AFP/Getty Images

Last updated: 19/12/16 10.44CET

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