The Week in Numbers

Goal gluts and finished famines

Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring
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Droughts dissolving for an Argentinian flea and a Bolivian force decorate’s latest stats review, along with records falling on Australia’s west coast and Spain’s east coast.


years and 48 games without an away win in the Copa Libertadores came to an end after The Strongest won on the road – and versus no less than the three-time champions. After a 2-1 success at compatriots Jorge Wilstermann in the 1982 edition, Bolivia’s oldest existing club had lost 41 and drawn seven matches on their travels, and few expected them to arrest that sequence against a Sao Paulo side that had won their past five home Libertadores matches without conceding a goal. An unanswered second-half header from Matias Alonso nevertheless gave Mauricio Soria his first victory at The Strongest’s reins.


successive victories is what Crvena Zvezda improved their own club record to on Saturday. The 1990/91 European Cup winners were expected to make light work of visiting Mladost Lucani, but they had to wait until the 73rd minute for new signing Damien Le Tallec to head them in front. Another debutant, Stevan Lukovic, playing against the club at which he started his career, then equalised with a low, swerving bullet, only for Hugo Vieira to nod home a late winner. It was the Portuguese forward’s ninth goal in his last five games. Crvena are a staggering 25 points clear of second-placed Borac Cacak in the regular season, which is more impressive when one considers that Partizan began 2015/16 as the favourites to seize their eighth league title in nine attempts. The arch-rivals clash in ‘The Eternal Derby’ next weekend.


hours and 11 minutes was what it took Lionel Messi to finally break his Petr Cech duck. The Barcelona No10 had failed to score in six games while the Czech was guarding the Chelsea net, and he was 19 minutes away from extending that drought in north London when Neymar pounced on a Gerard Pique clearance inside his own half. A mere nine seconds later, following a nutmegged pass from Suarez and a canny Neymar assist, Messi broke the deadlock. Another rapid statistic further hurt Arsenal: 47 seconds after coming off the bench, Mathieu Flamini tripped the twinkle-toed Messi to concede a penalty, which the same player converted to complete a 2-0 victory. La Pulga has now scored 16 goals in all competitions in 2016 – more than any other player based in England, France, Germany, Italy or Spain.


goals from nine scorers were the record-equalling figures that illuminated Australia’s ‘City of Light’ on Saturday. Brisbane Roar led 2-1 and 3-2, but Perth Glory rallied to go in at the break ahead and ensure seven goals were registered in the first half of an A-League match for the first time. The Purple Rain netted twice without reply after the restart to make it five consecutive victories for the first time in their history. It was only the third time more than eight players had netted in an Australian top-tier game, after Central Coast Mariners 4-5 Sydney FC in 2007 and Adelaide City 10-3 Mooroolbark in the 1977 National Soccer League, and was the fifth occasion nine goals had been posted in an A-League contest. It could have claimed the outright record had it not been for the bravery of Ante Covic. The 40-year-old goalkeeper dislocated a finger making a 57th-minute block, had it pushed back into place by the Glory physio, and made two fine saves thereafter. Perth, who only scored 15 goals in the first 14 rounds, have now hit 18 in their last five outings and rest just one place and one point beneath the playoff zone.


goals in the first half of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 clash against Rapid Vienna last Thursday saw Valencia become the first side to score that number in the first period of a match in the history of the competition. Amazingly, they all involved Santi Mina, who scored twice and notched his third assist before the clock hit 35 minutes. Rodrigo Moreno completed a 6-0 win late on, equalling Steaua’s 2014 thrashing of Aab as the biggest victory in the competition’s history and giving coach Gary Neville a memorable 41st birthday. The Englishman, who oversaw a 7-0 humiliation at Barcelona and had to wait ten games for his first Spanish La Liga win, has now masterminded three straight victories following Sunday’s 2-1 league success at Granada.

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