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Lavezzi, Basel and Wernbloom star

Published: Friday 24 February 2012, 10.00CET discovers UEFA Champions League firsts, quick-fire strikes and curious conundrums in our pick through the choicest morsels from the football week just gone.
by Richard Aikman

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Published: Friday 24 February 2012, 10.00CET

Lavezzi, Basel and Wernbloom star discovers UEFA Champions League firsts, quick-fire strikes and curious conundrums in our pick through the choicest morsels from the football week just gone.

Team: FC Basel 1893
Basel are already in uncharted territory having become the first side from Switzerland to reach the UEFA Champions League knockout phase, so few observers gave them much of a chance against four-time winners FC Bayern München. Jupp Heynckes' charges had already eliminated Basel's fellow Swiss outfit FC Zürich in the play-offs and their only European defeat this season had come on matchday six, with qualification already secured. Basel, though, snatched a late 1-0 win and dealt Bayern a similar blow to the one handed out to Manchester United FC in the group stage. This time they must finish the job away from home

Player: Ezequiel Lavezzi (SSC Napoli)
Lavezzi was asked at a pre-match press conference why he had not yet scored in the UEFA Champions League. He responded with two goals in the 3-1 win against Chelsea FC. "'Il Pocho' knows he has to take that final step and become a player who can score 15 or 20 goals a season," said goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, "but he is training hard every day to become more clinical." Lavezzi added that he also wanted to impress his son, Thomas, who made a rare appearance at the stadium. Perhaps the club should invest in a season ticket for Lavezzi Jr.

Goal: Pontus Wernbloom (PFC CSKA Moskva)
Wernbloom only joined CSKA from AZ Alkmaar last month but it did not take him long to acclimatise to the arctic conditions of the Russian capital or the high-pressure setting of UEFA Champions League football. He marked his first competitive appearance with a late volley to snatch a draw for the Premier Liga side against mighty Real Madrid CF. "It was magical to make it 1-1 in the 93rd minute and of course it was a good debut," the Swedish international told "This will be a good memory one day when I'm older, something to tell the grandchildren."

"Could you win, please. Otherwise my friends will make fun of me at school. Thanks, Filippo."
Nine-year-old FC Internazionale Milano fan Filippo, whose banner did not prevent his side from losing 3-0 to Bologna FC, their fourth defeat in five Serie A fixtures. Filippo, however, was at least invited to watch the club train and given a signed shirt by Javier Zanetti for his troubles.

Number: 19
FC Porto swept all before them as they stormed to a Liga, Portuguese Cup and UEFA Europa League treble last season, but they were brought down to earth with a bump this week as they lost 4-0 at Manchester City FC, succumbing 6-1 on aggregate to exit at the round of 32 stage. The writing was on the wall very early in Manchester, Sergio Agüero breaking a 'deadlock' that lasted just 19 seconds after Yaya Touré pounced on a loose ball and threaded the Argentina striker in to drive low past Helton.

Solving the puzzle
The famous Italian puzzle writer and word-games expert Stefano Bartezzaghi found a conundrum to celebrate Napoli's success against Chelsea. Rearranging the letters of the words 'Champions League', he produced the sentence 'Gesù, ma che Napoli' ‒ Jesus, what a Napoli.

Feast or famine
There has been no shortage of feasting in the NK Dinamo Zagreb dressing room this week, with goalkeeper Ivan Kelava ordering food for everyone to celebrate his 24th birthday. Midfielder Jerko Leko followed suit with 50 doughnuts – a traditional sweet for Carnival Day in Croatia – but coach Ante Čačić was in sympathetic mood. "We are a normal club," he said. "We know when the carnival celebration is and when Lent is. This year for Lent I will give up sex and wild strawberries."

Last updated: 24/02/12 18.37CET

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