In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals wins. Yet in every single match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is. That's why, each week, FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind the results.
While Martin Palermo and Spain's Clasico merit honorary mentions, this week's review is dominated by two finals: the race to reach the UEFA Champions League showpiece in Rome, and a 37-goal spectacular in Athens.
Boca Juniors goals was the milestone reached by Martin Palermo last Thursday, when the evergreen striker's brace against Deportivo Tachira took Los Xeneizes into the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores. The 35-year-old, who became Boca's all-time leading scorer in March, completed his double-century in some style, too, firing home a spectacular bicycle kick after earlier opening the scoring from the penalty spot. It completed a good week for Palermo, with Diego Maradona - a former team-mate - confirming that El Loco will return to the Albiceleste fold when he takes a team of domestic-based players to face Panama in a forthcoming friendly.
per cent: that is statistical likelihood of Chelsea progressing to the Champions League final this evening, taking into account all previous European ties where the first leg has ended 0-0. Add to this that Barcelona have won just six of their previous 29 away matches against English clubs, and that Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 17 home Champions League matches, and it would seem that Guus Hiddink's side already have one foot in the final. It should not be forgotten, however, that although the Londoners are unbeaten in their last four matches against tonight's visitors, it was Barcelona who inflicted their last Champions League defeat at Stamford Bridge on 23 February 2006. The two main protagonists from that evening will also be reunited this evening, with Samuel Eto'o having scored the winner in a 2-1 victory that also witnessed John Terry put through his own goal.
years and six months had passed since their last eight-goal meeting when Barcelona arrived at Real Madrid on Saturday. What followed was a rewriting of history, with the Catalan giants serving up a 6-2 win that represents the highest-scoring Clasico ever witnessed at the Bernebeu. It was also only the eighth time in Real's history that they had been beaten by four or more goals at home, with the last - a 5-1 defeat by Real Mallorca - having come six years ago. Barcelona, by contrast, whose six-goal haul took them on to 100 for the La Liga season and within seven of the division's all-time record, can reflect with pride on their first home-and-away 'double' over Real since the 1997/98 campaign.
goals - eight during 120 minutes of heart-stopping drama, followed by 29 in a nail-biting penalty shootout - have led to Saturday's Greek Cup final being declared the greatest match in the tournament's 78-year history. With Oympiacos down to nine men, it was left to the their captain and goalkeeper, Antonis Nikopolidis, to fire home the winning penalty in a shootout that ended 15-14 in the Erythrolefki's favour. Normal time had also unearthed unlikely goal hero, with on-loan Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Derbyshire coming off the bench to break AEK Athens' hearts with a 96th-minute equaliser. For Olympiacos, who had already been crowned league champions, the victory secured their 26th Greek Cup and 14th domestic double.
years after Juventus became the last Champions League holders to return to the final, Manchester United gave themselves the chance to go one better with a masterful away performance at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium last night. No team has ever successfully retained the Champions League crown, but with United's unbeaten streak in the competition now stretching back a record 25 matches, few would bet against the Red Devils rewriting the record books in Rome. In dismantling an Arsenal side whose last home European defeat had come five years and 27 matches previous, United also established their manager among the continent's elite. Before last night, only eight coaches - Messrs Trapatonni (7), Munoz, Happel, Lattek, Goethals, Cruyff, Eriksson and Lippi (all 5) - had ever reached five European finals or more. In joining their ranks, Sir Alex Ferguson also became the first British manager to achieve such a quintuple, surpassing Don Revie and Bob Paisley, both of whom reached four.