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So far so good: Pick of the UEFA Europa League group stage

Zenit's Lazarus act in Israel, Aritz Aduriz's five-goal salvo,a goal after 10.69 seconds and much more besides. UEFA.com's reporting team picks their highlights.

So far so good: Pick of the UEFA Europa League group stage
So far so good: Pick of the UEFA Europa League group stage ©UEFA.com

Team: Shakhtar Donetsk
Special mentions go to Fenerbahçe and APOEL, but it is difficult to look beyond Shakhtar. The runaway Ukrainian league leaders won six out of six in Group H, ending just one strike shy of Napoli's record of 22 goals in a group campaign. The only negative for Shakhtar is the knowledge that none of the previous seven sides to end the group stage with a 100% record went on to win the competition.

Player: Giuliano (Zenit)
Giuliano never settled in Europe during his spell at Dnipro in Ukraine between 2011 and 2014, but the Brazil forward is making a bigger impression second time around. A summer signing from Grêmio, he scored the 86th-minute equaliser then set up the winner in a sensational victory at Maccabi Tel-Aviv (more on that later) and twice saved his side's blushes against Dundalk. He ended the group stage with six goals and four assists.

Breakthrough star: Leon Bailey (Genk)
Not many gave Genk much hope in a tough looking group alongside Athletic Club, Sassuolo and Rapid Wien, but they made it comfortably. Jamaican winger Bailey was the inspiration, contributing four goals and two assists, and drawing comparisons with friend Raheem Sterling. "He's so quick it's not normal," ex-Barcelona and Netherlands midfielder Ronald de Boer reckons. "He couples that with great technique – an exceptional combination."

A taste of what Bailey has to offer

Goal: Moussa Sow (Fenerbahçe 2-1 Man. United)
The pressure that comes with replacing a big-name striker like Robin van Persie, depriving him the chance of starting against his former club no less, can weigh heavily even on experienced shoulders. There's a tendency to go safety first, getting a few touches in, simple lay-offs, and slowly release the burden. Or you can just do what Sow did against United on matchday four: wait 74 seconds before sending an outrageous bicycle-kick past one of Europe's best keepers.

Moussa Sow's moment of brilliance for Fenerbahçe

Match: Maccabi Tel-Aviv 3-4 Zenit
The Miracle of Istanbul is oft cited as the high-water mark of comebacks but, let's face it, Liverpool had it pretty easy in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final. They were level by the hour, and needed extra time and penalties to triumph. If the Reds really wanted a challenge, they should have done it at the home of their opponents, waited until the 77th minute before starting their recovery and then wrapped up the win in regulation time, as Zenit did in Israel on matchday one.

Highlights: Zenit's remarkable comeback

Performance: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club 5-3 Genk)
Francesco Totti winding back the clock with a hat-trick of assists against Astra merits commendation, but it is a man five years his junior at 35 who gets the nod. Aduriz was unstoppable on matchday four, a one-man wrecking ball to Genk's beleaguered back line. He ended with five goals, a competition record, including three spot kicks. Last season he became the oldest ever UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League top scorer; he is well placed to extend that record.

Watch Aduriz score five for Athletic

High number: 73,063
The crowd at Old Trafford to watch Manchester United beat Fenerbahçe on matchday three, smashing the group stage record by 6,000. Special mention, too, to Zlatan Ibrahimović, whose winner against Zorya Luhansk three weeks earlier made him only the third player to score for seven different teams in UEFA club competition. The others? Adrian Mutu and John Carew.

Low number: 10.69
The number of seconds we had to wait for the first goal of the UEFA Europa League season. Liberec's Jan Sýkora got it, despite the fact that it was Azerbaijani hosts Qarabağ who kicked off. It shaved a cool two and a half seconds off the competition record for quickest goal. Remarkably, the Czech side struck inside the opening minute again next time out, too, at home to PAOK. His side didn't win either game.

Liberec score fastest Europa League goal


Dundalk match-winner Ciaran Kilduff celebrates with fans after beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Dundalk match-winner Ciaran Kilduff celebrates with fans after beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv©Sportsfile