Team: IL Hødd
Winger Pål André Helland joked that second-division Hødd, who had only just escaped relegation, had one small advantage when it came to taking on Tromsø IL in the Norwegian Cup final. "We are young and dumb," he noted. Idiots, maybe, but no fools as they showed by winning Sunday's game in Oslo 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, with goalkeeper Ørjan Håskjold Nyland the star performer. "Fourteen days ago we were expecting to be playing in the third tier, probably having lost in the cup final," smiled coach Lars Arne Nilsen. Tromsø's local paper Nordlys had a black front page on Monday, emblazoned with the line: "We were supposed to celebrate Tromsø cup success here – we didn't have a Plan B."
Goal: Adil Rami (Valencia CF)
A mention in dispatches to Jakub Błaszczykowski, who finished off a stunning move to score in Borussia Dortmund's 1-1 midweek Bundesliga draw with SC Fortuna Düsseldorf, but this week's winner is Valencia centre-back Adil Rami. The 26-year-old France defender pumped in an incredible opener from just inside his own half during Wednesday's 3-1 Spanish Cup fourth-round win against UE Llagostera at the Mestalla. "Rami scored a goal from behind the halfway line, the like of which will probably never be repeated," said his coach Mauricio Pellegrino.
Player: Wilfried Bony (Vitesse)
Vitesse's unlikely bid for the Dutch Eredivisie title gained more momentum last weekend when the third-placed team won 2-1 at leaders PSV Eindhoven, with Wilfried Bony scoring his 15th goal in 14 league games this term – a stunning record for a player who learned football the hard way. "I grew up playing football in Bingerville, near the Ivory Coast's capital Abidjan. Everybody loves football there," said the 23-year-old former AC Sparta Praha forward. "As kids we played on sandy pitches, there was hardly any grass. Often we played barefoot with a worn-out ball. Only when I reached the age of the 13 did I start playing for a club and wore boots for the first time. They really hurt my feet. My technique comes from playing barefoot."
"The biggest achievement so far is that the tournament is here in Israel. Everything else is a bonus and after the draw nothing has changed – Italy, Norway and England are still better teams than us and it will be fantastic to see our players up against them."
Tournament ambassador Avi Nimni celebrates the fact Israel will be staging its first major international tournament next year, following Wednesday's draw for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Tel Aviv
The age of NK Zagreb boss Miroslav 'Ćiro' Blažević, who by UEFA.com's calculations is the oldest coach currently working in top-flight football in Europe. "I have never been a better coach than I am now," said the former Croatia trainer. "I'm only 77 and I'm happy."
Save: Felipe Melo (Galatasaray AŞ)
Galatasaray midfielder Felipe Melo may be considering a change of position after saving a penalty in the 1-0 Turkish Super League win at Elazığspor last Saturday. With regular goalkeeper Fernando Muslera conceding a late penalty, and being sent off for the foul, the 29-year-old picked up the gloves and – remarkably – fended away Göksu Türkdoğan's spot kick. "I looked into Göksu's eyes – he looked like he wasn't sure which way to put it," said Felipe Melo, who tried his hand between the posts in similar circumstances in 2006/07 while at Real Racing Club in Spain – but could not stop Ronaldinho scoring for FC Barcelona. "I didn't dive too early and waited until the last second to move. I didn't start the season well but this save is extra motivation for me," continued the 29-year-old Brazilian international.
Bring your daughter to work day: the Klaksteins (Faroe Islands)
The Faroe Islands is claiming a first after Wednesday's 6-0 friendly victory in Luxembourg in which 39-year-old Bára Klakstein and her 17-year-old daughter Eydvør Klakstein both featured. "I had never believed this would be possible," said Bára. "A few years ago I hoped we would be able to play together for KÍ Klaksvík, and it was really enjoyable when that happened, but the fact we can also do it with the national team is really fantastic." The game coincided with the 40th birthday of Eydun Klakstein – Bára's husband and Eydvør’s father – who once played for KÍ in the Faroese first division, as does his son, 19-year-old Hedin Klakstein. Could this be Europe's ultimate footballing family?
Family misfortunes: Valeri Gazzaev (FC Alania Vladikavkaz)
A family first of a different kind came in Russia, where Alania Vladikavkaz president Valeri Gazzaev made the unusual decision to fire his son Vladimir as the Premier-Liga club's coach and step in as his replacement. The 58-year-old former PFC CSKA Moskva boss has pedigree – he led Alania to their only Russian league title in 1995 – and insisted that dismissing his 32-year-old protege had not been easy. "We found ourselves in a difficult situation," said Gazzaev Sr. "We were not getting results and changes were needed. I have thanked my son for his good work. Vladimir is a very responsible person, he knows he needs to take a break."
Pushy parent: Dmitri Cheryshev
Born in Nizhny Novgorod, Denis Cheryshev broke new ground on Tuesday when he became the first Russian player to represent Real Madrid CF, figuring in the 3-0 Spanish Cup fourth-round success against CD Alcoyano in the capital. "Ever since I arrived at the club as an 11-year-old I have dreamed of this moment," said Cheryshev, 21, who moved to Spain in 1996 when his father Dmitri left FC Dinamo Moskva for Real Sporting de Gijón. However, while Dmitri was undoubtedly a proud dad after the game, the 43-year-old former forward – capped ten times by Russia – is promising tough love for his son. "He has worked hard for his debut but must now go on to be better than his father, which is why I am going to be a real pain around him and very demanding," he stressed.
Press darling: Joey Barton (Olympique de Marseille)
Booked 22 minutes into his Ligue 1 debut for Marseille against LOSC Lille on 25 November, Joey Barton's aggression is something of a calling card. Yet he also makes good copy for journalists, on this occasion lapsing into a comedy French accent during the post-match press conference at the Vélodrome. "The one criticism of the French league is that it is a little bit boring," said the 30-year-old, who remains anything but: here mangling his intonation in an exciting parallel with the Dutch-accented conferences which Steve McClaren used to give during his early days at FC Twente. "In my defence, it is very difficult to do a press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists," the Liverpudlian Barton tweeted later.
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