Sterling statistics for Spain-based shot-stoppers decorate FIFA.com’s latest stats review, along with unusual hat-tricks, an almost and a first touch.
minutes without conceding is the Espanyol-record run Diego Lopez has established without conceding in La Liga. Espanyol may have finished 13th in 2015/16, but they leaked a whopping 74 goals – more than any other team. And, with Roberto Jimenez between the sticks, they let in six goals at Sevilla on the opening day of this campaign. Since Lopez joined on loan from AC Milan, however, Espanyol have transformed into an near-impregnable outfit. The 35-year-old former Real Madrid goalkeeper made it five consecutive clean sheets away to Atletico Madrid on 3 December, tying the club record shared by Miguel Soler (1953/54), Thomas N'Kono (1988/89) and Carlos Kameni (2008/09). At home to Sporting Gijon on Sunday, Lopez surpassed Kameni’s 551-minute high without conceding, but was denied becoming the first Espanyol shot-stopper to keep six straight shutouts by Duje Cop’s injury-time goal.
penalty saves in La Liga is what Diego Alves extended his extraordinary record to on Saturday. The Valencia No1 denied Real Sociedad’s Carlos Vela to leave himself having stopped 80 per cent of the spot-kicks he has faced this season – he also thwarted Leganes’s Alexander Szymanowski and Atletico Madrid pair Antoine Griezmann and Gabi, while Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is the only man to have beaten the Brazilian from 12 yards. Alves has now saved 20 penalties from a possible 43 in the Spanish top tier. The previous best belonged to Barça icon Andoni Zubizarreta, who stopped 16 from 102.
corners is what Adelaide United had compared to Brisbane Roar’s three on Sunday, yet it did not prevent them losing 4-0. The result snapped a sequence of four successive 1-1 draws for the Roar. Key to the victory were two goals, within 60 seconds of play, with the same assister and scorer, two Tommy Oar centres being dispatched by Thomas Kristensen. The former Denmark midfielder has now netted four goals from just seven shots this season. Brisbane, meanwhile, extended their unbeaten run at Suncorp Stadium to 12 matches.
minutes is all Ajax were away from an incredible milestone – finishing a calendar year unbeaten away in the Eredivisie. Since losing in Utrecht almost one year to the day earlier, the Amsterdam heavyweights had won 11 and drawn four on their travels in the Dutch top flight. Peter Bosz’s boys were on the cusp of keeping the run intact at Twente on Sunday, but Mateusz Klich’s injury-time penalty arrested it and handed Ajax their first loss, home or away, in 21 matches. Ajax must now turn their attention to denying fierce rivals PSV the same landmark they were chasing – if Phillip Cocu’s side avoid defeat at the Amsterdam ArenA at the weekend, they will finish 2016 having not lost away in the Eredivisie.
touches: that is what Kashima Antlers substitute Yuma Suzuki had against Atletico Nacional before he became the first player in history to score with his first touch in a FIFA Club World Cup game. The goal sealed a 3-0 semi-final win and sent an Asian team into the final for the first time in 13 editions of trying. Suzuki, at 20 years and 232 days, also went ninth on the list of the competition’s youngest marksmen – one topped by Alexandre Pato, who was just 102 days past his 17th birthday when he netted for Internacional in 2006.
75goals is what Lionel Messi had a hand in for Barcelona in 2016. La Pulga recorded 50 goals and 25 assists in all competitions.
3 headers in a Premier League match was what Salomon Rondon achieved on Wednesday to become just the second player to score a hat-trick with his head in the English top flight. Everton’s Duncan Ferguson was the first in 1997.
3 goals as a substitute was what allowed Sevilla midfielder Vicente Iborra to become the first non-forward to set the mark in La Liga this century.