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Atalanta's glorious procession through their maiden Champions League campaign continued apace on Tuesday night as the Serie A side completed their 8-4 aggregate annihilation of Valencia.
Already leading 4-1 from the first leg, four more goals from Josip Ilicic at the Mestalla saw Atalanta win 4-3 on the night and thus stride into the quarterfinals -- the first tournament debutants to do so since Leicester City in 2016-17.
Having already netted once in the first leg, Ilicic also became the first player not named Ronaldo or Messi to score five or more goals in a Champions League knockout tie.
5 - Josip Iličić is only the third player to score 5+ goals over two legs of a Champions League knockout tie, after Lionel Messi for Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen in 2011-12 (6) and Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich in 2016-17 (5). Influential. pic.twitter.com/a6bcZtgVSO— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 10, 2020
He also became the oldest player (at the grand old age of 32 years and 41 days) to score an away hat trick in any Champions League game -- beating a record previously held by the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Ilicic's quadruple means that Atalanta have now scored 28 goals in their past seven outings, and it brings his own tally for the calendar year to 15 goals.
To put that in sharper perspective, since the beginning of January the Slovenian forward has been more prolific in front of goal than anybody else playing in the top five European leagues. And Atalanta have a rather impressive stat to call their own: Manchester City's stand-in goalkeeper (actually a defender) Kyle Walker is the only one so far not to have conceded to them in Europe.
Atalanta have faced seven goalkeepers in this season's Champions League. They have scored goals against six. The only one who hasn't conceded to them is Kyle Walker.— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) March 10, 2020
Unfortunately, Atalanta's victory over Valencia had to be played inside an empty stadium due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, although there was at least one Valencia fan who got to sit through the whole thing. Yet, despite watching a seven-goal thriller, he remained absolutely silent throughout.
That's because the fan in question was a bronze statue of Vicente Navarro, an avid Los Che fan who attended every game, sat in seat 164, row 15 of the Tribuna Central stand, despite losing his eyesight some 40 years ago.
A blind Valencia fan who attended matches just to feel the atmosphere had a statue built in his favourite spot when he passed away.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 10, 2020
Tonight, Vicente Navarro is the only supporter with a seat. pic.twitter.com/sPL5kS43BS
Navarro sadly died in 2019, but so beloved was "the soul of the Mestalla" that the club built him a statue and placed it in his familiar seat for all eternity.
Cheer up, Jose
Tottenham's malaise continued as they went crashing out of the Champions League to RB Leipzig in somewhat spectacular fashion.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in north London, Spurs' steadfast resolve lasted all of 10 minutes before Marcel Sabitzer's opening goal started them spiralling. Two more goals were soon shipped at the Red Bull Arena, condemning Jose Mourinho's injury-speckled side to their second competition elimination in the space of a week.
As is usually case when Mourinho is involved, sympathy was in short order as Spurs were sent tumbling out by Julian Nagelsmann's effervescent Leipzig side -- a club that did not exist just 10 years ago.
The result was a tough one to take for Mourinho, who is beginning to lose the lustre on his once-imperious Champions League crown.
Indeed, the Portuguese coach -- twice a competition winner in 2004 and 2010 -- hasn't won any of his last eight Champions League knockout games, a wretched run stretching back to April 2014.
The irony that the most recent defeat should come against a talented young coach once nicknamed "Baby Mourinho" -- who was just 16 back in 2004 -- is probably not lost on him, either.
🤯 RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann was 16 years old when Jose Mourinho won the Champions League with Porto.— SPORTbible (@sportbible) March 10, 2020
👏🏻 He's just knocked him out of the competition 4-0 on aggregate to reach the quarter finals! pic.twitter.com/og2nc0Wkyh
Even the energy drinks started taking the mickey by the end of the evening.
North London is Red... Bull 🔴🔥 https://t.co/x4LhUNpjl4— Red Bull UK (@RedBullUK) March 10, 2020
On the receiving end of banter from a can of carbonated sugar. That must be a new low point.
A reporter told Jose Mourinho to "cheer up" after Tottenham got knocked out of the Champions League 😳 pic.twitter.com/ggRMSKWUFs— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) March 11, 2020
Scratch that. Being told to "cheer up" by a condescending journalist at his postmatch news conference is definitely Mourinho's new nadir.
AIK go big with retro kit design
AIK Stockholm have created a fair amount of buzz with their latest kit launch, a retro design inspired by the club's historic uniforms of the late 19th century.
The Swedish club debuted their new "1891" strip this week to much fanfare, with fans soon cooing over the minimal design and gigantic embroidered badge.
Would you look at the size of that badge! The detailing and craft involved in the embroidery knocks today's cheap, heat-transferred vinyl efforts clear into touch.
Missade du släppet av 1891 #BehrensEdition ? Idag får du en ny chans 🖤💛 @ProD_Soccer hyllar vår historia och lanserar kl 14:00 129 exemplar globalt. Trycket kommer vara högt, så var redo på denna länk: https://t.co/RmTnhXwv4m #AIK #jointhemovement #stadiumsportscamp pic.twitter.com/i6Ji83SbCb— AIK Fotboll (@aikfotboll) March 11, 2020
AIK usually play in black but have also had several white strips during their 124-year history -- the retro shirt being a nod to the fact that they regularly played in white before 1911, at which point they began to favour an altogether darker approach.
De gör inte bara otroligt snygga matchtröjor som uppmärksammas världen över. @nike var också matchvärd under måndagens härliga cupmöte med Kalmar FF. Till matchens lirare utsåg man tvåmålsskytten Saku Ylätupa. Tack, Nike! pic.twitter.com/ZqKJsYhOLD— AIK Fotboll (@aikfotboll) March 10, 2020
The club gave a full debut to their handsome new retro kit on Tuesday night, beating Kalmar FF 3-1 in the Svenska Cup group stages.
It's fair to say that they also looked the business while doing so.