Sports

Streaks, strikes and a new sensation

April 18, 2012   ·   0 Comments

Streaks, strikes and a new sensation

© AFP

Sequences and scoring feats dominate FIFA.com’s latest stats review, with Eden Hazard, Mario Gomez and Joel Pohjanpalo featuring alongside Fluminense and Manchester United.

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consecutive Ligue 1 appearances, the longest current run in the French top flight, was the milestone reached by Eden Hazard on Sunday. The Belgian, who has not missed a league match since October 2009, marked the occasion by scoring one and laying on another as Lille beat Ajaccio 4-1. Hazard currently leads the Ligue 1 assist table with 12, and lies second on the scoring chart on 15. The weekend past was also a productive one for Marseille, who ended their 11-match winless run by beating Lyon 1-0 in the Coupe de la Ligue final. The south-coast giants duly became the first team to win this trophy in three successive seasons, with coach Didier Deschamps having won all 12 matches he has overseen in the competition since taking charge.

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matches have now passed since Manchester United failed to score at home in the Premier League, enabling the Red Devils to set a new record. Not since Aston Villa won 1-0 at Old Trafford in December 2009 has any visiting team emerged from the Theatre of Dreams with a shutout, and Villa never looked like repeating that feat on Sunday. Wayne Rooney was the architect of United’s 4-0 win with a brace that leaves him on 24 Premier League goals for the season, just two short of his best-ever season in 2009/10. It was also the 28th time that Rooney has scored more than once in a top-flight match; in the Premier League’s history, only Alan Shearer – the record-holder with 57 – Thierry Henry, Robbie Fowler and Andy Cole have done so more often. Yet, vital as Rooney always is, it is Paul Scholes who has emerged as United’s lucky charm, having remained unbeaten in all 12 league matches he has played since coming out of retirement. Sunday’s victory also maintained Scholes’ amazing record against Villa, against whom he has not tasted defeat since a famous opening-day loss in 1995.

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years after their last home defeat in international competition, Fluminense finally succumbed in their Rio backyard last Wednesday. Boca Juniors were the team to end this 32-match run, clinching a 2-0 win – the first by a foreign team at Flu since Argentinos Juniors emerged triumphant in 1985. The victory also provided sweet revenge for the visiting Argentinians, who had seen their own 36-match unbeaten home streak ended by Fluminense just a few weeks earlier. The group stage of the Copa Libertadores concludes tomorrow and, with Santos and Internacional well placed to join Flu, Corinthians and Vasco da Gama in qualifying, Brazil could have five teams in the knockout phase for the fifth year in succession. One Brazilian team who won’t be flying the flag in the next stage, however, is Flamengo, who exited in dramatic fashion, failing to survive the group phase for the first time in a decade.

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goals in a single UEFA Champions League campaign is a feat that, before last night, only two players had achieved. In firing the winner against Real Madrid, Mario Gomez became the third, joining Ruud van Nistelrooy (2002/03) and Lionel Messi, who has managed the accomplishment both this season and last. Gomez’s goal was Bayern’s 22nd against Real in the Champions League, breaking the record by one team against another in Europe’s premier competition – a record previously set by the Bavarians’ 21-goal haul against Spartak Moscow. Jupp Heynckes also maintained his 100 per cent home record in 11 Champions League matches with both Bayern and Real, and did so at the expense of his former club’s long unbeaten away run. This, after all, was Jose Mourinho’s side’s first defeat on the road in 22 matches, while they also conceded a first-half goal in European competition for the first time since December 2009.

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minutes and 42 seconds was the time it took 17-year-old Joel Pohjanpalo to score the quickest hat-trick in the history of Finland‘s Veikkausliiga on Sunday. HJK were 1-0 down at home to Mariehamn with 71 minutes played when the youngster grabbed the first of a treble that he completed before the 74-minute mark had been reached. And as if that feat wasn’t impressive enough, Pohjanpalo managed to chalk up a ‘perfect’ hat-trick, scoring the first with his head, the second with his left foot and the third with his right. The youngster spent a week on trial with Liverpool last month after scoring 33 times in Finland‘s third tier for HJK’s reserve side, but Sunday’s match was just his second-ever appearance – and first-ever start – at senior level.

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