In FIFA.com’s latest statistical review, we reflect on a week in which Vasco da Gama stumbled, Saint-Etienne returned to the Ligue 1 summit, Spartak Moscow delivered a lesson in efficiency, Asia excelled in Trinidad and Tobago and Dimitar Berbatov continued his spectacular resurgence.
years stand between Berbatov’s brilliant hat-trick against Liverpool on Sunday and the last Manchester United player to put three past the club’s biggest rivals. Former England international Stan Pearson was the Red Devils’ last treble-scorer in this fixture back in 1946, and it says everything about the different eras in which these feats were achieved that Pearson scored his hat-trick at Maine Road because of bomb damage to Old Trafford. For Berbatov, who described Sunday as his “best day in a United shirt”, this was his first Premier League hat-trick since scoring four times for Tottenham Hotspur against Reading in December 2007.
years and seven months after they last topped the Ligue 1 table, Saint-Etienne made a long-awaited return to the summit with a 3-0 win over Montpellier on Saturday. Les Verts, the last of whose ten French top-flight titles came back in 1981, had not held pole position since 20 February 1982, when they beat Lyon 1-0 in the Derby du Rhône, a fixture that will this Saturday celebrate its 100th instalment. Key to Saint-Etienne’s rise has been the prolific form of winger Dimitri Payet. The 23-year-old, who had never managed more than four goals in any of his previous campaigns, now tops the Ligue 1 scoring chart with six goals from as many games, having claimed a first-ever career hat-trick in last month’s 3-1 win over Lens.
Brasileirao games without defeat was the impressive sequence that came to a sudden end for Paulo Cesar Gusmao on Sunday. Internacional were the team to end the Vasco da Gama coach’s run, which had begun back on 9 May, while he was still in charge of Fortaleza outfit Ceara. Gusmao’s success continued during the initial stages of his tenure at Vasco, who went into the weekend’s meeting on the back of 14 league matches without defeat. However, despite dominating the first half, O Gigante da Colina came unstuck two minutes after the restart when Andres D'Alessandro – who was making his 100th appearance for Inter – teed up Edu for the game’s decisive strike.
of the last six finals at FIFA women's youth tournament have included at least one Asian representative. However, Korea Republic and Japan – who will battle it out for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup crown on Saturday – are newcomers to this advanced stage. Korea DPR have traditionally been the most successful Asian nation in these underage tournaments, winning the inaugural U-17 showpiece in New Zealand and also reaching two U-20 finals, winning one and losing the other. The upcoming Port of Spain showdown is the first all-Asian final witnessed at a FIFA tournament since the North Koreans crushed China 5-0 in a rain-drenched finale to the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia. For the world's most populous continent, there will be the hope that this success at youth level translates to the senior FIFA Women's World Cup, a tournament in which Asia's representatives have made only one, unsuccessful, final appearance thus far.
points were taken from Marseille’s Velodrome by Spartak Moscow on Matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions last Wednesday – despite the Russians’ players not managing a single shot on target. Ultimately, a match in which Spartak coach Valery Karpin said his keeper had earned a mark of “11 out of ten” was settled by an own goal from l’OM’s unfortunate Cesar Azpilicueta. This snatched victory was in stark contrast to the win secured by Real Madrid, who racked up a remarkable 35 efforts on goal – a competition high in week one – en route to beating Ajax 2-0. Real’s arch-rivals enjoyed an equally one-sided triumph, with Barcelona central midfielders Sergio Busquets and Xavi completing more passes – 128 and 120 respectively – than the entire Panathinaikos team beaten 5-1.