Nine years on from the club's UEFA Cup comebacks, Middlesbrough's youth side completed one of their own, it rained goals in the group stage and Alex Iwobi impressed.
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Iwobi doubles up
With Arsenal striking greats Thierry Henry and Ian Wright watching on, Alex Iwobi produced an attacking performance the Gunners' top two all-time leading scorers would have appreciated in Tuesday's 2-0 Group F win against Bayern München. Iwobi contributed both Arsenal goals, including the stunning opener from distance that smashed in off the crossbar.
"I was absolutely delighted with that goal," Iwobi told UEFA.com. "If you asked me to do that again, I doubt I could." It has been an exceptional month for the 19-year-old, who signed a new Arsenal contract days before making his senior debut for Nigeria, following in the footsteps of his uncle Jay-Jay Okocha. "I enjoyed that – it was good," Iwobi said. "Hopefully I can get called up again, but I need to be performing and scoring goals like today."
Goals, goals, goals
The 16 fixtures in this week's UEFA Champions League path produced a staggering 75 goals, 49 of them on Wednesday. Benfica swelled the total with an 11-1 thrashing of Galatasaray – their second competition-record victory of the season – while Malmö and Shakhtar Donetsk drew 5-5 and Atlético overwhelmed Astana 7-1. The most goals scored in a UEFA Champions League matchweek? Sixty-three on matchday one of the 2000/01 campaign.
Patrik Dzalto's 93rd-minute strike may have secured Leverkusen a 2-1 victory against Roma on Tuesday, but Marlon Frey's superb first-half opener was celebrated with just as much gusto by the fans at the Ulrich Haberland Stadion.
The Werkself captain's bending effort from the edge of the box would have graced any arena in world football; as it was, it gave the hosts a platform to go on and win the Group E encounter. "It was great to see it go in," said Frey. "I struck it well and I'm very happy, but obviously I'm just as pleased that we won."
Absences no problem for Paris
Paris Saint-Germain went into Wednesday's home game against Real Madrid with five players on the other side of the planet at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. Four of them started the goalless draw with Malmö on matchday one, including exciting forward Odsonne Edouard, but Paris made light of their depleted ranks to beat the Merengues 4-1.
"We wanted to show that we have deep resources," said Paris coach François Rodrigues, his team two points clear at the Group A summit. "The coaching programme at Paris is top quality and our so-called replacements showed they can also play in this team."
Middlesbrough's Reims comeback
The scene of Middlesbrough's back-from-the-dead UEFA Cup victories over Basel and Steaua Bucureşti in April 2006, the Riverside Stadium witnessed another unlikely European Lazarus act by the Teesside club on Wednesday. Boro were 5-1 down at one point in the first leg of their Domestic Champions path first-round tie against Reims, but were given hope by two goals from Callum Cooke, who made the breakthrough in the return fixture 15 minutes from time. Junior Mondal then put the English side ahead on away goals, a late penalty from Harrison Chapman completing a memorable 3-0 win. Not a bad way for Middlesbrough manager Craig Liddle to celebrate his 44th birthday.