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 week's review is dominated by a clutch of exceptional goalscoring feats, from that of on-song Alejandro Dominguez though hat-trick heroes Grafite and Antonio Di Natale and penalty king Nestor Ortigoza to Old Trafford's venerable veteran, Ryan Giggs.
minutes was all Antonio Di Natale needed to put Catania to the sword with the week's fastest hat-trick. The Italy international, now in his fifth season with Udinese, saved I Zebrette from an embarrassing home defeat by a Catania side still looking for their first point of this Serie A season. The visitors were leading 2-1 when Di Natale struck for the first time on 55 minutes, yet ended up comfortably beaten by Pasquale Marino's side, who ascended to seventh thanks to their in-form forward. Di Natale has made a spectacular start to the 2009/10 season, with this hat-trick taking his tally to six from Udinese's opening three fixtures and leaving him three goals clear of nearest challenger Marek Hamsik at the top of the Serie A scoring charts.
seasons of the English Premier League have one thing in common: a Ryan Giggs goal. By scoring a sumptuous free-kick in Manchester United's 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, the evergreen Welshman continued his unique record of having found the net in every single campaign since England's top flight was revamped. Gary Speed, who now plays his football in the nation's second tier, was his closest rival with a goal in 16 separate Premier League seasons, while Red Devils team-mate Paul Scholes - sent off on Saturday - has been on target in 15. Giggs, Manchester United's record appearance holder, is also the only player to have scored in 11 consecutive UEFA Champions League campaigns.
years without a win against Newell's Old Boys in Rosario came to an end for Argentinos Juniors, when Nestor Ortigoza successfully converted his tenth penalty in as many attempts. The midfielder maintained his impressive 100 per cent record with a 65th-minute winner as the Bichos Colorados preserved their unbeaten start to the Apertura season. While Rosario Central, who have yet to drop a point, still lead, things are looking up for the club renowned for bringing through the likes of Diego Maradona, Fernando Redondo and Juan Roman Riquelme.
goals in Alejandro Dominguez's last seven appearances have kept Rubin Kazan firmly on course for a successful title defence in Russia. The Argentinian forward's spectacular form has been key to a recent run of six consecutive victories that has left the Tatarstan six and ten points clear respectively of the chasing Muscovite duo, Spartak and CSKA. What is perhaps most remarkable about the 28-year-old's recent exploits is that seven of his eight goals have come from the penalty spot, with this run of good fortune having taken him on to 13 for the season and within two of the league's current leading marksman, Welliton.
goals is a tally that, before last night, only five players had managed on their UEFA Champions League debut. By firing a hat-trick in Wolfsburg's 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow, Grafite became the sixth, bolstering an illustrious group that also includes Marco van Basten, Faustino Asprilla, Yakubu, Wayne Rooney and Vincenzo Iaquinta. Yet although the Brazilian also became only the third player after Asprilla and Fernando Morientes to score a treble on the compeition's opening night, he was unable to emulate Van Basten as the Champions' League's most successful debutant. The Dutchman's memorable four-goal haul against IFK Gothenburg in November 1992 came in the revamped competition's inaugural round of matches, and no-one has been able to match it since.