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.
This review features a thumping win for Benfica, two stirring comebacks and another historic achievement by Josep Guardiola's Barcelona. Star billing, however, is reserved for two of football's most famous fixtures: the Milan derby and, first, a look ahead to South America's clásico.
previous meetings between Dunga and Diego Maradona, all of which came during their playing days, yielded just one win for the Brazil coach. With Maradona having come out on top on six occasions and two of their encounters ending in draws, Dunga may well feel that he has an old score to settle when South America's eternal rivals meet on Saturday. However, while the coaches' head-to-head record would appear to auger well for Argentina, the hosts' record against Brazil in Rosario is not so encouraging. In two previous meetings there, the Albiceleste haven't even managed a goal, with a 1-0 defeat in the 1975 Copa America having been followed by a 0-0 draw during the 1978 FIFA World Cup™. With five points separating Argentina, in fourth, from Dunga's section leaders, drawing a blank again could prove disastrous.
goals in 21 minutes helped Benfica to a landmark 8-1 win over Vitoria Setubal on Monday. As well as giving the Lisbon giants the joint-biggest win of the past week, a remarkable five-goal blast set a new benchmark in the recent history of the Portuguese top flight. With the goals coming between the 16th and 37th minutes, Benfica were able to rack up a five-goal advantage quicker than any other Liga side in the past decade. During this period, only Sporting have scored five times in a shorter time-span, managing the feat in 19 minutes during the closing stages of their match against Nacional in February 2007. Monday's win was also the first time Benfica had won by such an emphatic margin since beating Pacos de Ferreira 7-0 in November 2002.
unanswered goals in the Milan derby ensured that Inter equalled their biggest-ever win over their city rivals. Not since AC Milan were beaten 5-1 in March 1974 had I Nerazzurri enjoyed such a resounding victory in this 101-year-old fixture. Milan were thoroughly outplayed after going down to ten men and, to rub salt into their wounds, it was only the fourth time in their history that they had been beaten by four or more goals at home. Apart from the aforementioned derby defeat in 1974, only Juventus, who won 6-1 in 1997, and Genoa, who inflicted a 5-1 defeat all the way back in 1958, had ever beaten I Rossoneri by such a handsome margin.
men have now won the UEFA European Super Cup as both player and coach after Josep Guardiola completed the trio on Friday. Barcelona's 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk ensured that the Catalans' coach followed in the footsteps of Johan Cruyff, a winner with Ajax in 1972 and Barça in 1994, and Carlo Ancelotti, who lifted the trophy as an AC Milan player in 1990 and then as the club's coach in 2003 and 2007. Barcelona's narrow win, which was the fifth European Super Cup final to be decided after extra time, established the Blaugrana as the fourth club to have won the trophy at least three times, a feat already managed by AC Milan, Ajax and Liverpool. The Spanish champions are also only the third team in history to win a treble and go on to lift the European Super Cup, emulating Ajax (1973) and Galatasaray (2000).
goals down is a worrying enough position to be in ahead of the second leg of a cup tie, but when the first leg has been at home, the situation begins to look hopeless. Indeed, before last Thursday, no team in the entire history of European club competition had ever advanced after losing by three goals at home. The club to rewrite history were Dinamo Bucharest, who triumphed 9-8 on penalties after beating Slovan Liberec 3-0 in the Czech Republic to replicate the scoreline by which they had lost in Romania. It proved to be a week of great comebacks, in fact, with Uruguay's Liverpool battling back from three goals down to claim a 4-3 win over Cerrito and move joint-top of the Primera Division.