Iker Casillas and Rogerio Ceni take centre stage in FIFA.com’s latest statistical review, while Lyon’s habit of striking late and hoodoo-ending wins for Manchester United and Bologna also catch the eye.

500

Real Madrid appearances was the milestone reached by Iker Casillas on Saturday, when Los Merengues beat Xerez 3-0. While Cristiano Ronaldo stole the headlines with a brace that took his Real tally to 17 in as many competitive matches, Casillas had every reason to be equally proud of his own contribution. Another shutout, his 13th in 22 matches this season, certainly proved vital to Real narrowing the gap on Barcelona, and continued the exemplary form of a modern day legend who has become just the 11th Madrista to reach the 500 mark. Casillas and Real also had their neighbours to thank for a weekend to remember, as Atletico inflicted Barcelona’s first defeat of the season, continuing a difficult run at the Vicente Calderon for the Catalans, who have now conceded ten goals in their last three visits.

82

Sao Paulo matches have been marked by a Rogerio Ceni goal, and none have ended in defeat for O Tricolor Paulista. The veteran keeper maintained this proud record at the weekend when his match-winning penalty secured a 1-0 win over Ituano that boosts fifth-placed Sao Paulo’s hopes of qualifying for the Campeonato Paulista semi-finals. “This statistic, that the team won’t lose, is always in my head when I score,” said the 37-year-old. “It’s really cool. In practically ten per cent of the games I’ve played for Sao Paulo, I’ve scored.” No goalkeeper in the history of the game has scored more, in fact, with 49 free-kicks and 38 penalties contributing to Rogerio Ceni’s overall tally of 87 in 881 appearances.

79

years without a Serie A win in Livorno came to an end for Bologna on Saturday when they clinched a 1-0 win at the Stadio Picchi. The 110th goal of Marco Di Vaio’s stellar Serie A career secured I Rossoblu’s first victory away to their Tuscan opponents since a 2-0 triumph on 15 February 1931, ending a run of eight defeats and four draws. However, victory came at a cost, with Di Vaio – Bologna’s top scorer this season with nine goals - hobbling off before half-time with an injury that will keep him sidelined for around four weeks. Elsewhere in Italy, Amauri ended a three-and-a-half month scoring drought with his first Serie A goal since 28 October as Juventus brought their five-game winless run to a close by beating Genoa 3-2.

41

per cent of Lyon’s Ligue 1 goals this season have come in the final 15 minutes of matches, with Cesar Delgado’s 78th-minute winner against Lens the latest in this succession of late strikes. Les Gones remain fourth, eight points adrift of leaders Bordeaux, but they would be a further 16 points worse off were it not for this habit of leaving it late. Delgado’s decisive strike against Lens was the 16th goal that Lyon have scored between minutes 76 and 90, and Sochaux would do well to beware of this never-say-die spirit when they entertain Claude Puel’s side on Sunday.

16

successive away European matches without defeat was the new record set by Manchester United in the San Siro last night. The Red Devils, whose last continental defeat ironically came at the same venue on 2 May 2007, previously shared the record with Ajax and Lazio, both of whom had gone 15 away games unbeaten in the late 1990s. In setting this new benchmark, United also quashed all talk of a Milan 'hoodoo’ by ending a run of four straight defeats at the San Siro, during which they had failed to score a single goal. I Rossoneri, who had gone into last night’s game with an aggregate historical score of 10-0 in home matches against at United, found themselves on the receiving end of a 3-2 defeat in which Wayne Rooney scored a second-half brace. Rooney has now scored 25 goals in all competitions this season, beating his previous best of 23 in 2006/07.