Dirk Kuyt’s short-range hat-trick, Estudiantes’ derby dominance, Porto’s defensive excellence, a fresh Lionel Messi record and the ending of long waits by Gennaro Gattuso and a Werder Bremen feature in FIFA.com’s latest statistical review.
minutes have now passed since Porto last conceded a league goal after they notched a sixth successive clean sheet on Sunday. Os Dragões almost conceded for the first time since Naval’s Kevin Gomis’s late consolation in a 3-1 loss on 16 January after just 17 seconds in a home match with Vitoria Guimaraes, and were indebted to Helton for producing a fine save to deny Tiago Targino. Thereafter, second-half goals from Radamel Falcao Garcia and Cristian Rodriguez earned Andre Villas-Boas’s team a tenth consecutive win and preserved their 100 per cent home record in the league. Reigning champions Benfica, meanwhile, who three days earlier had beaten Sporting 2-1 to reach the Taca da Liga final and extend their winning streak to 18 matches in all competitions, a Portuguese record, saw their remarkable run ended in a 2-1 loss at Braga.
is the new European goalscoring record at Barcelona after Lionel Messi set a fresh benchmark last night. A brace in the Catalans’ thrilling 3-1 win over Arsenal sealed a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and also took the little Argentinian past Rivaldo’s tally of 31 in continental competitions. Their talisman’s goals represented just reward for a Barcelona side who utterly dominated their esteemed English visitors, enjoying a 69 per cent share of possession and completing 738 passes to Arsenal's 199. They also had 19 attempts on goal, while Arsenal, incredibly, didn’t manage a single effort, relying on Sergio Busquets’ own goal for an equaliser very much against the run of play. Messi, meanwhile, continues to amaze. The world’s top player has now scored 172 goals in 254 matches for Barcelona, leaving him with an average of 0.67 per game that continues to climb with every passing week.
instalments of the La Plata derby have now taken place at the Estadio Unico - and Gimnasia La Plata have failed to win any of them. Since the impressive arena, which acts as home to both Gimnasia and fierce city rivals Estudiantes, opened in 2003, Estudiantes have won seven of the nine La Plata derbies, while the remaining two have ended with honours even. Los Triperos had hoped to rely on the most partisan of crowds to help them end this run, with rival supporters excluded from Saturday’s match, but a comfortable 2-0 win for the ‘visitors’ left Estudiantes’ triumphant coach Eduardo Berizzo crowing about having “defeated 33,000”. The consequence of this latest result, aside from maintaining Los Pincharratas’ derby dominance, was to leave the victors top of the Argentinian standings and Gimnasia languishing in the relegation play-off zone.
yards was the combined distance from which Dirk Kuyt scored his match-winning hat-trick against Manchester United on Saturday. Simple though they were, Kuyt’s goalline tap-in, five yard header and snatched rebound from two yards gave the Dutchman his first treble since he put three past Willem II for Feyenoord on 29 December 2005. He also became the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick since Fernando Torres against Hull City 17 months ago, and the first to manage one against Manchester United since Peter Beardsley in a 4-0 win in September 1990 – ironically, the last time Kenny Dalglish faced the Red Devils at Anfield during his first stint in charge. Kuyt joins a select group of three players, the others being Egil Ostenstad and David Bentley, to have put three goals past United in a Premier League fixture. For Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, who have now suffered three league defeats in the space of five games for the first time in almost seven years, the only consolation was another goal from the deadly Javier Hernandez. The Mexican has now managed ten Premier League goals this season from just 14 shots on target.
games without a victory and 19 weeks without an away win were the sequences brought to an end by Werder Bremen on Sunday. Thomas Schaaf’s side won 3-1 win at Freiburg, who suffered their first home defeat since runaway Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund triumphed 2-1 at the Dreisamstadion in November, to climb out of the relegation zone. Werder had not won on their travels since a 4-1 reverse of Borussia Monchengladbach in October, but were rewarded for going on the offensive in a match that witnessed them fire in 16 shots on goal – more than in any of their previous away matches this season. Elsewhere in Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt continued a goalless run that now stretches back over eight Bundesliga matches and stand within another shutout of the league record, shared by Saarbrucken (1992/93) and Cologne (2001/02).
years and four months after his last Serie A strike, Gennaro Gattuso found his way back to goal on Saturday with the winner in AC Milan’s 1-0 victory at Juventus. The fiery midfielder’s goal, his eighth of a 14-year Serie A career, extended Milan’s unbeaten Serie A run to 11 matches and means I Rossoneri have lost just one of their last 28 league matches. For Juve, it sealed a third successive defeat, their worst run in over a year, and exacerbated the Turin giants’ home defensive record, which was already the worst in Serie A. I Bianconeri are struggling just as badly at the other end of the park, where they have failed to score in three successive top flight matches for the first time since 1998 and are now on a run of 330 minutes without a goal.