Strikers and sequences
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The prolificacy of David Villa and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar earned them places in this week’s statistical review, while a 17-year-old American’s inclusion owes to him playing in one match directly after another. Mano Menezes and Independiente also feature for positive reasons, which cannot be said for Botafogo.

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goals for Spain is the figure David Villa reached in a 3-2 win in Scotland last night, making him the joint-leading marksman in his country's history alongside Raul. But while the latter played 102 times for La Roja, the Barcelona striker's run-out at Hampden was only his 69th, though that was sufficient enough to make him their joint-12th all-time leading appearant. El Guaje, 28, netted just once in his opening eight internationals, but has struck 30 in his past 40. Spain have now won the last 27 matches in which Villa has been on target, since a 3-2 loss away to Northern Ireland in which he and Raul were guilty of missing a series of chances.

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minutes after becoming New York Red Bulls’ first academy-developed player to represent them in Major League Soccer, Juan Agudelo started for the club’s U-18 team against the USA U-17s. The 17-year-old made history by coming on as an 88th-minute substitute for the first team in a goalless draw with Real Salt Lake, but five minutes of action failed to satiate the Colombia-born striker. “I didn’t feel like I got a good enough work-out in - I wanted to play some more,” he explained afterwards. Agudelo’s wish was granted and he got to play the first half-hour in the youth friendly, which kicked off swiftly after the conclusion of the MLS fixture.

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years after Carlos Alberto Parreira became the last man to win the first three games of a spell as Brazil coach, Mano Menezes has repeated the trick. After being installed in the hot-seat in 1991, the former began his tenure with victories over Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and USA, but the country’s next six appointments – namely Mario Zagallo, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Emerson Leao, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Parreira again and Dunga – were unable to finish their maiden 270 minutes at the reins with a 100 per cent record. Menezes presided over a 2-0 victory away to USA on his debut in August and a 3-0 defeat of Iran in Abu Dhabi last Thursday, before A Seleção ended Ukraine’s seven-match unbeaten run by scoring twice without reply in Derby on Monday. Alexandre Pato, who hit his first international goal just 12 minutes into his senior bow in 2008 but failed to score in his next seven appearances for Brazil, has now found the target in all three matches under the 48-year-old.

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goals in nine games for club and country is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s impressive post-FIFA World Cup™ return. The 27-year-old hit a brace in a 4-1 win over Sweden last night to help the Netherlands consolidate top spot in Group E and take him two clear of Germany’s Miroslav Klose on the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying scoring chart. As well as managing eight goals half as many internationals, Huntelaar has posted four in five for new club Schalke.

11

matches unbeaten in the Avellaneda derby is the proud statistic that belongs to Independiente following their 1-0 victory over Racing Club on Sunday. Los Diablos Rojos were at the foot of the Apertura going into their Round 10 clásico, while their arch-rivals were high on confidence having taken seven points from their last three outings, scoring seven times and failing to concede in the process. However, a solitary goal from 20-year-old defender Cristian Baez – the Paraguayan’s first goal for the club in only his third appearance – secured Independiente, on Antonio Mohamed’s debut at their reins, a 68th win in the fixture’s 176th instalment (Racing have 46 victories). The record seven-time Copa Libertadores champions have now beaten their arch-rivals in their last four meetings, with the four previous to those ending all square. Racing’s last derby win was in 2005, when goals from current Defensa y Justicia team-mates Juan Carlos Falcon and Marcelo Guerrero, and Leandro Lopez, sealed a 3-1 success.

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successive draws  - the most since the Brasileirao adopted its current format in 2003 - have effectively ended Botafogo's title challenge. Joel Santana’s side were only two points behind current leaders Cruzeiro when the demoralising sequence began, but now find themselves ten points off the pace following Sunday’s goalless encounter with Palmeiras – one in which Sebastian Abreu, whose nonchalantly-taken penalty sent Uruguay into the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ semi-finals, had a spot-kick saved. Botafogo drew 14 times – more than any other team - in last year’s Brasileirao, and have already equalled that figure with nine rounds remaining.