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A goal and two assists

Robben 'always makes the difference'

The outcome between FCB and PSV Eindhoven was no longer in doubt as Wednesday evening's match meandered to a close, but there was still one last roar from the Allianz Arena crowd when undisputed man of the match Arjen Robben took his leave. The Dutch ace scored one of the goals and provided assists for two others, even prompting the travelling fans from his former club PSV to hail the tricky winger. "That was a great feeling," the 32-year-old acknowledged afterwards, "that's not something you can take for granted.“

Arjen returned to Bundesliga action on 1 October after seven months on the sidelines and is now back to peak form. "What he basically does is prise apart deep-lying opponents with his dribbling skill and pace," commented Mats Hummels. "That's why it's so good for us when he's fit to play." Robben is one of those players who always provides an edge, as he did against Eindhoven and has done against so many other clubs.

"Robben can make the difference in every game," PSV boss Phillip Cocu noted admiringly of his former Netherlands' team-mate. "He's outstanding, a world-class player. Players like him make the difference thanks to their class and vision."

Robben is now 32 and has 91 Champions League appearances under his belt, but is still capable of springing surprises. His goal to round off the scoring from a sweet Thiago delivery was a header. "It looks like you're probably never too old to score with your head," Arjen grinned after his first-ever headed goal in the Champions League.

It was the crowning glory of a classy display against PSV, Robben's club from 2002 to 2004 and where he first played in Europe's elite club competition back in October 2002. Some 14 years later he was one of the main reasons the Dutch giants now face an almighty struggle to make the Round of 16 with only half the group stage matches played. And in two weeks time Robben is due back at the Philips Stadion for the return fixture.