Fresh feats and five-star shows
© AFP

The number five proved memorable for both Barcelona and Dimitar Berbatov during a week that witnessed contrasting achievements in Tajikistan and Bolivia, and yet more defensive heroics from River Plate. FIFA.com takes a closer look in our latest statistical review.

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minutes without a top-flight goal was the drought Dimitar Berbatov ended in spectacular style on Saturday by becoming only the fourth player in Premier League history to score five in a single game. In following in the footsteps of Andy Cole (1995), Alan Shearer (1999) and Jermain Defoe (2009), the Bulgarian returned to the summit of the English scoring charts, two clear of Andy Carroll and Carlos Tevez. Manchester United’s Berbatov-inspired 7-1 win over Blackburn Rovers came 3,892 days after the Red Devils’ last domestic seven-goal showing, and was the first time that the visitors had ever lost a Premier League match by such an emphatic margin. It was a weekend of firsts in England’s top tier, witnessing as it did a goal from every one of the 20 Premier League teams for the first time in the division’s 18-year history.

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years of Copa Libertadores history have never included a second tier team from outside Brazil competing in South America’s elite club tournament. All of that will change in 2011, however, after the final round of Bolivian Nacional matches ended on Sunday with Jorge Wilstermann, winners of the 2010 Apertura, consigned to relegation. The Cochabamba outfit have been an ever-present in each of the professional league’s 33 seasons, but this year paid the price for a poor points average over recent campaigns.

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wins, six draws and no defeats – the longest active unbeaten run in world football - is the record with which Tajikistan’s Istiqlol Dunshabe emerged from the 2010 season on Saturday. The recently-crowned champions were only promoted to the top flight two years ago, but clinched their first-ever domestic championship with ease earlier this month and have now become the first Tajik team in nine years to survive an entire season undefeated. Record champions Regar-TadAZ Tursunzade, who finished 13 points behind in second place, were the last to achieve that feat, and their unblemished triumph heralded the start of a run that saw them win the league title seven times in just eight seasons.

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unanswered goals on Monday evening gave Barcelona their fifth consecutive Clásico victory, the first time either side has managed this feat since Real Madrid won five in a row in 1965 during the club’s heyday. It was the first time in almost 17 years that the Catalans had beaten their old rivals in such resounding fashion, and the first time in Jose Mourinho’s entire coaching career that he had lost by a margin greater than three goals. The defeat continued Mourinho’s record of never having won at the Camp Nou in six attempts, while also ending an unbeaten streak in all competitions for Real that stretched back 26 matches to 10 April, when Barça were again their conquerors. Although the match halted the remarkable scoring streaks of Lionel Messi, who has still never scored against a team coached by Mourinho, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who has yet to open his account against Barcelona, the little Argentinian did manage nine successful dribbles – the most by any player in a single La Liga match this season. Xavi also excelled, completing a season-high 110 passes despite being substituted in the game’s closing stages. It was a night to forget, meanwhile, for Real captain Iker Casillas, who conceded his 36th Clásico goal to set a new record, surpassing Barcelona legend Juan Velasco.

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successive clean sheets under the guidance of interim coach Juan Jose Lopez have taken River Plate out of the Argentinian relegation play-off zone for only the second time in 16 matches this campaign. Since Lopez, the club’s former youth coach, took charge earlier this month, goals have been in short supply at both ends, with Los Millonarios achieving a position of safety – for now at least – on the back of 1-0 wins over Boca Juniors and Olimpo and a goalless draw with San Lorenzo. River are aiming to protect their status as one of only three Argentinian teams never to be relegated to the country’s second tier, and helping them to achieve that will doubtless boost Lopez’s hopes of making the transition from caretaker to coach on a permanent basis.