The past week has witnessed celebrations in Banfield, satisfaction in Enschede and Eindhoven, and desolation in Hanover. FIFA.com looks at the reasons behind these contrasting emotions in our latest statistical review, and reflects on a stunning goal from Maynor Figueroa.
years is an exceptionally long time to wait, but fans of Argentina’s Banfield have been making up for lost time in toasting the first top-flight title of the club’s history. The feat earned El Taladro a new world record, in fact, with their 113-year wait eclipsing that of Swedish outfit Hammarby, who had existed for 104 years before claiming their first national championship in 2001. Previously, Banfield had arguably been best known as the most successful team in Argentina’s second tier, where they topped the table on a record nine occasions. Aside from its unlikely champions, this year’s Apertura was also notable for the fact that, for the first time in 27 years, none of the league’s traditional 'big five' - Boca Juniors, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Independiente and Racing – qualified to compete in the Copa Libertadores.
yards was the amazing distance from which Wigan Athletic’s Maynor Figueroa scored a certain candidate for goal of the season on Saturday. The Honduran full-back caught out Stoke City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen with an audacious and superbly struck free-kick from inside his own half as the Premier League rivals fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw. Sorensen himself admitted the goal was a “once-in-a-lifetime thing”, while Wigan manager Roberto Martinez lauded Figueroa’s “touch of genius” and said the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™-bound star “has the seeds of greatness in him”. Yet Figueroa’s strike, however remarkable, was not a Premier League record-breaker. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson’s 84-yard effort for Tottenham Hotspur against Watford in March 2007 still sets the standard, while Xabi Alonso just beats Figueroa to second place thanks to a 64-yard strike for Liverpool against Newcastle United in September 2006.
matches played, no defeats and 92 points: that is the extraordinary combined record of Dutch pacesetters Twente and PSV at the halfway stage of the Eredivisie campaign. Never in the history of the Dutch top flight have the league’s top two held such an impressive points tally at this point in the season, with the previous record of 90 points having been reached just twice, in 1995/95 and 1968/69. Steve McClaren’s Twente, who lead PSV by two points, are also on a 12-match winning streak; a run of victories second only in world football to Lautoka of Fiji. The Enschede outfit’s recent success has been built on the superb scoring form of Costa Rican striker Bryan Ruiz, who has now scored in each of his last ten appearances.
goals in each of their last four games have sent Lille rocketing up the Ligue 1 table and into contention for the title. This free-scoring recent form represents a spectacular transformation in fortunes for Les Dogues, whose previous 13 matches had yielded a miserly goal tally of just 14. The last French team to score four goals in four successive top-flight matches was Sochaux 45 years ago, and matching that achievement has elevated Lille to third place, just six points behind leaders Bordeaux.
own goals in one match combined for a calamitous outing for Hanover at Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday. Tunisian centre-back Karim Haggui put through his own net twice, and Ivorian full-back Constant Djakpa added a third as Die Roten crashed to a incident-strewn 5-3 defeat. It was the first time in ten years that three own goals had been scored in a single Bundesliga fixture, while Haggui joined Mainz's Nikolce Noveski as the only player to have notched a double at the wrong end during the same decade. It left Hanover coach Andreas Bergmann to reflect on a “a crazy, curious match". He added: "It's unbelievable we scored six goals and lost. I don't think we'll forget this match any time soon."