While one teenager enjoyed a dream start to his career in Italy, another’s debut took just seconds to turn into a nightmare in Brazil. With Manchester City, Ajax and Lionel Messi all dazzling, FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind this past week’s stories.
seconds was the period in which Manchester City scored the first three goals in their 6-1 victory away to Burnley on Saturday. Emmanuel Adebayor hit the first just past the three-minute mark and, after Craig Bellamy added number two, Carlos Tevez made it 3-0 on six minutes and 20 seconds. Patrick Vieira and Adebayor, with his second, ensured Roberto Mancini’s team carried a 5-0 lead in at the break – an all-time Premier League record for an away side. Vincent Kompany increased City’s cushion on 57 minutes – helping them to the fastest-ever six-goal advantage in the competition’s history in the process – before Steven Fletcher’s consolation ensured a 6-1 final score. The result moved City into fourth, the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot, and left Burnley with just one point from a possible 27, seven from a possible 60, and winless in the top flight since 31 October.
kilograms of chocolate was what it took to one Catalonian bakery to make one special Easter gift: a lifesize sculpture of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. But while the design was 1.69m tall, like the Argentinian superstar, it was considerably heavier – the reigning FIFA World Player weighs just 67 kilograms. Messi responded in emphatic style last night, scoring all Barça’s goals in a 4-1 victory over Arsenal that took them into the last four of the UEFA Champions League for an unparalleled seventh time and into the semi-finals of a European competition for a record-equalling 26th time, alongside arch-rivals Real Madrid. In doing so, the 22-year-old became only the sixth player to score four goals in a Champions League game after AC Milan’s Marco van Basten, Simone Inzaghi of Lazio, Monaco forward Dado Prso, Manchester United’s Ruud van Nistelrooy and another Rossoneri representative in Andriy Shevchenko.
minutes into his professional debut is all Genoa’s Richmond Boakye required to score his first goal on Saturday. The 17-year-old only made the substitutes’ bench against Livorno because of an injury to Robert Acquafresca, but when another forward, David Suazo, limped off on 12 minutes, Rossoblu coach Gian Piero Gasperini had no qualms about throwing on the Ghanaian. Boakye swiftly began to terrorise the visitors’ defence with his explosive pace and, after almost curling the ball home on the stroke of half-time, he broke the deadlock six minutes after the restart, chesting down a chip forward by Giandomenico Mesto and firing home from close range. It looked enough to secure Genoa a first win in four attempts, until Francesco Tavano scored Livorno’s first away goal in 410 minutes to salvage a point.
seconds into his Santo Andre debut is all it took Richard to receive the joint-second-fastest red card in Brazilian football history on Saturday. The 21-year-old forward and Rio Claro wing-back Neno collided into a challenge, exchanged shoves and were both consequently sent off. The Campeonato Paulista match finished 1-1. The quickest-ever sending off in the country occurred just last year, when Cruzeiro’s Ze Carlos was dismissed just 12 seconds into a 3-0 defeat by arch-rivals Atletico Mineiro.
successive victories have thrown Ajax an Eredivisie title lifeline. A 2-0 loss at Utrecht in December left the Amsterdam giants nine points off the pace, but their latest win, 1-0 away to ADO Den Haag on Sunday, kept them four points behind leaders Twente with four rounds remaining. In pocketing maximum points from their last ten outings, Martin Jol’s team have, incredibly, scored 33 goals and conceded just two. Encouragingly for Ajax, while they have what appears an easy run-in, Steve McClaren’s team must face defending champions AZ and Rotterdam heavyweights Feyenoord, both of whom are fighting for the last UEFA Europa League qualification place.