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FK Qarabag
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0
0
FT
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3
2
FT
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1
1
FT
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0
0
FT
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FC Copenhagen
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2
0
FT
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Besiktas
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1
1
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0
0
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5
1
FT
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SV Salzburg
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2
2
FT
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Panathinaikos
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1
2
FT
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PSV Eindhoven
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1
0
FT
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Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
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0
1
FT
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Sevilla FC
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2
0
FT
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Standard Liege
Rijeka
2
0
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Everton
VfL Wolfsburg
4
1
FT
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Lille
Krasnodar
1
1
FT
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BSC Young Boys
Slovan Bratislava
5
0
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Napoli
Sparta Prague
3
1
FT
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Rio Ave
Dynamo Kiev
0
3
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Steaua Bucuresti
AaB
6
0
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Fiorentina
Guingamp
3
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PAOK Salonika
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6
1
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1
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1
2
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Saprissa
3
1
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Metapan
Herediano
2
4
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Boca Juniors
Rosario Central
3
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Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 1
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Emelec
River Plate
2
1
FT
Leg 1
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Racing Club
Argentinos Juniors
0
1
FT
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Temperley
Unión de Santa Fe
1
1
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Corinthians
Chapecoense AF
1
1
FT
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Goiás EC
Atlético MG
2
3
FT
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Gremio
Santos FC
0
0
FT
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Deportes Quindío
America Cali
0
0
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Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
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Cortuluá
Valledupar F.C.
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 4
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WhoScored: Cesc driving Chelsea on

Tactics And Analysis 16 hours ago
Read
Sep 4, 2006

Didn't see that one coming!

'Soccer Sensation' is the usual headline when Frank Lampard decides to vent his spleen on West Ham supporters for the 40th time or Steven Gerrard admits that - yep! - he's a bit of a misery and that perhaps Sven shouldn't have taken Theo Walcott to Germany. But all these riveting stories can take a back seat now - this really is a sensation.

When West Ham United completed the double signing of Argentinian World Cup stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Corinthians on permanent contracts even the normally placid Soccernet headline writers were forced to use the aforementioned epithet.

By capturing the signatures of two of the world's best players, West Ham have upped the ante and propelled the club forward in a manner that has left even the most fanatical Hammers fan breathless. Things have been moving apace at Upton Park since we gained our rightful place back in the Premiership at the end of 2004/5 but anybody who said they saw this coming is a liar. This really is..errr... sensational.

Naturally, there's conjecture that this is all a Russian plot to subvert the face of the Premiership even more than it has been over recent years, but I'm long enough in the tooth to have endured some miserable seasons - too many in fact - watching West Ham and I'm happy to gambol in the sun and let fate take us where it will.

Whether Tevez can cement a place in the forward line alongside Bobby Zamora (Did I really just mention Zamora and Tevez in the same sentence?) or if Mascherano will be able to usurp Hayden Mullins is something I'm happy to find out over the coming year. And if Upton Park is just a temporary stop along the District Line - perhaps it's nearer the Berlitz school? - who cares?

Because even if Real Madrid do wave a huge cheque book next September to tempt these stars to a place where the sun shines a little more often than it does on Beckton Gasworks; a precedent has been set. And I liken it to Arsenal naming their French manager or Chelsea signing Ruud Gulitt in '95; West Ham have puffed out their chest and said 'Yea, we fancy a bit of that'. Quite rightly too, we have the history and the fan base and now, apparently, we have the money too!

And has the strategy already paid dividends? It was interesting that the East End was buzzing with rumours that Club Captain Nigel Reo-Coker was on his way to God knows where before the transfer deadline. But it was announced later that the rumours were 'unfounded' and that he was staying. But who knows why? Perhaps he doesn't look good in red? Perhaps the money wasn't what we wanted for a future England captain? Or maybe, just maybe, the lad had a look around and thought 'Yea, I'll have a go at captaining this side and seeing if I can attain God-like Moore status'.

I don't know how or who managed to broker this deal but I assume Terence Brown and Alan Pardew must have worked hard to make this happen so I doff my titfer to them both (Yep, it's now OK to smile at Terry Brown - things have changed!).

I'm off on holiday now. When I get back I expect to see a few more claret and blue shirts generally dotted around London.

Sensational!


• If you have comments on this article then email the author Billy Blagg.

• Read more from all Soccernet Correspondents here.