Chelsea FC hit peak form, Sergio Agüero and Vasili Berezutski showed perfect timing, Chancel Mbemba proved the most valuable player and Lionel Messi broke records, as usual ...
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Chelsea FC hit peak form, Sergio Agüero and Vasili Berezutski showed perfect timing, Chancel Mbemba proved the most valuable player and Lionel Messi (yawn) broke another record (tell us something we don't know). UEFA.com reviews the highlights of the UEFA Champions League week just gone, including goal commentaries from the feature games on our matchnight radio show.
Team: Chelsea FC
Chelsea were one of five teams to make it through this week and did so in the spectacular style in which they have been dominating the Premier League, winning 5-0 at FC Schalke 04 to make sure of top spot in Group G. John Terry's second-minute header set them on the way to a victory that had former manager Roberto Di Matteo, now at the Schalke helm, apologising to the home fans.
Player: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City FC)
City may not have followed their fellow English challengers through yet, but that they have a great chance of doing so is largely down to one man. Ahead of the visit of FC Bayern München, City were without a Group E win and, trailing 2-1 with five minutes to go, they were facing – at minimum – having to prevail 3-0 at AS Roma in their last game to have any possibility of progess.
However, Agüero, no stranger to a late City winner, had other ideas, equalising by pouncing on a misplaced pass then exploiting another rare Bayern error to clinch victory in added time. City will now advance with a score draw at Roma should PFC CSKA Moskva lose at Bayern, and boss Manuel Pellegrini declared: "I have always said before this night that Sergio is one of the best players in the world."
Moment: PFC CSKA Moskva's equaliser against AS Roma
City's cause was helped about an hour before they kicked off against Bayern thanks to Vasili Berezutski. Francesco Totti's free-kick seemed to have secured the spoils for Roma in Tuesday's early game but with the last touch of the match Berezutski's cross snuck in, saving CSKA's hopes and keeping City within three points of Roma (they drew level later on). "We managed to concede in the last 15 seconds; these 15 seconds changed my view of the game," said understated Roma coach Rudi Garcia.
Match: PFC Ludogorets 2-2 Liverpool FC
Rewind two months, and a last-gasp Liverpool goal denied Ludogorets a debut UEFA Champions League point at Anfield. Revenge was extracted in Sofia on Wednesday, Georgi Terziev equalising with two minutes to go, ensuring Ludogorets at least can still reach the UEFA Europa League.
That was the icing on the cake of a thrilling Group B game where both sides scored in the first eight minutes before Jordan Henderson gave Liverpool a half-time lead. "Scoring against Liverpool will be an unforgettable moment," defender Terziev said.
Quote: "Being honest, I watch every Leverkusen game"
Dimitar Berbatov confesses his love for the club where he made his name, before helping AS Monaco FC to a 1-0 Group C victory at BayArena – not the first time he has returned to help an away team do down Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
On Tuesday, both Agüero and Argentina team-mate Lionel Messi (of whom more later) scored hat-tricks, and not to be outdone Mario Mandžukić also struck three goals 24 hours later in Club Atlético de Madrid's qualifying-clinching 4-0 defeat of Olympiacos FC in Group A. It is only the second time, after 23 November 2005, that three players have managed a treble in a single matchweek.
Lionel Messi: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
We've had to invent a category of his own for Messi, so as to give everyone else a go. Anyway, this week he claimed a hat-trick in the 4-0 Group F win at APOEL FC that took him ahead of Raúl González as outright UEFA Champions League all-time top scorer on 74.
Three days earlier he ended Telmo Zarra's six-decade reign as the most prolific Liga player, reaching 253 goals with a treble versus Sevilla FC. If Messi musters another three against Paris Saint-Germain on 10 December, he will eclipse Raúl's all-time UEFA club competition mark of 77.
Fantasy Star: Chancel Mbemba (RSC Anderlecht)
Agüero, Mandžukić and Messi, plus Hector Herrera and Mikel San José, all conjured an impressive 14 points in UEFA Champions League Fantasy Football this week but they were trumped by the total of 19 picked up by the 20-year-old Anderlecht defender.
Priced at the minimum €3m and selected in a mere 7.9% of all teams, Mbemba notched both goals in Anderlecht's UEFA Europa League berth-clinching 2-0 win against Galatasaray AŞ as well as getting credit for the clean sheet, putting him up to 30th in the point ranking of the 762 registered players. Perhaps one to target in UEFA Europa League Fantasy Football for the knockouts?
Photo: Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund may have had an unhappy night at Arsenal FC, losing 2-0, but they seemed to enjoy their morning warm-up at Regent's Park, on a pitch usually used by amateur players on a Sunday morning (they had done the same before last season's 2-1 success at Arsenal).