Goal kings and title triumphs
© AFP

This week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s championship-winning habit, Radamel Falcao’s record goal haul and Javier Hernandez’s speedy strike feature alongside a record win for Bayern Munich and shocks aplenty in the Copa Libertadores.

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seconds were on the clock at Old Trafford when Javier Hernandez struck a telling blow in England’s title fight with the fastest goal of the Premier League season. By edging in front of Marouane Chamakh's 37-second effort for Arsenal at Wolverhampton Wanderers in November, the Mexican reached the 20-mark in all competitions to continue a remarkably successful debut campaign at Old Trafford. Chicharito’s low drive past Peter Cech was the quickest goal seen in the Premier League since former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell scored after just 33 seconds against Everton in December 2008. Yet he held the record for little over 24 hours before Maxi Rodriguez snatched it away last night, firing a 30-second opener in Liverpool’s 5-2 win at Fulham. Not that this detracted from a tremendous weekend for United, who also maintained their record of not conceding in the first half at home in the Premier League this season, a record that stretches back 402 days to last April and Joe Cole’s opener in a 2-1 win for Chelsea. Frank Lampard did breach their goal in the second half with his first goal at Old Trafford in over 12 years, but United were able to comfortably hold on for a victory that enabled them to equal Newcastle United’s record streak of 14 successive home Premier League wins.

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European goals in a single season have enabled Porto’s Radamel Falcao to set a new record, surpassing Jurgen Klinsmann’s tally of 15 in Bayern Munich’s UEFA Cup-winning 1995/96 campaign. The in-form Colombian, who scored ten times over the course of the quarter-finals and semi-finals alone, now has 15 goals in his last eight appearances, and has scored more goals in Europe this season than the entire team of Porto’s UEFA Europa League final opponents, Braga. That all-Portuguese showdown in Dublin will be the 15th European final between two clubs of the same nationality, and the first between two teams from Portugal. Porto are sure to go into the match as favourites, with Andre Villas Boas – who will be 33 years and 213 days old on 18 May – aiming to eclipse Gianluca Vialli, who was 33 years and 308 days old when he won the Cup Winner’s Cup with Chelsea, as the youngest coach to lift a European trophy.

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was the scoreline at St Pauli on Saturday that brought Bayern Munich their biggest-ever away win in the Bundesliga. Remarkably, this thumping victory came 34 years to the day after the only previous 8-1 away win in Germany’s top flight, secured by Eintracht Frankfurt at Essen on 7 May 1977. St Pauli’s tormentor in chief was Mario Gomez, whose three-goal haul saw him become only the second player in Bundesliga history - after the great Gerd Muller - to score at least five hat-tricks in one season. Gomez, who has also become only the third Bayern player to score 25 goals in a single season, needs just one more treble to equal Muller’s record of six, set in season 1971/72.

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consecutive seasons have now ended with Zlatan Ibrahimovic clutching a league winner’s medal after the Swedish striker helped AC Milan clinch the 2010/11 Scudetto. The 29-year-old’s last season without a championship celebration came with Ajax in 2002/03, with the subsequent years bringing titles with five different clubs across three countries – Ajax (1), Juventus (2), Inter Milan (3), Barcelona (1) and AC Milan (1) – although Juve were later stripped of the two he won while in Turin. However, while Ibrahimovic’s goals have undoubtedly played their part in helping Milan draw level with Inter on 18 Scudetti – keeping the trophy at the San Siro for the seventh straight year – it is at the other end of the park that the foundations of I Rossoneri’s success have been built. The title-winning 0-0 draw at Roma was their fourth successive Serie A clean sheet and their 19th in total this season, with Alessandro Nesta, who made his 400th Serie A appearance on Saturday, crucial to that solidity.

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participants in the quarter-finals have left Paraguay as the best represented nation in the Copa Libertadores after a disastrous week for the traditional big guns. Brazil and Argentina, whose clubs boast 36 Libertadores titles between them and have triumphed in 16 of the last 19 seasons, witnessed eight of their ten hopefuls bid farewell. For the Brazilians, who had provided half of the competition’s last eight in each of the previous two seasons, and whose domestic game has been boosted by an influx of returning stars, this was a particularly unexpected blow. Yet while it is 17 years since these two South American heavyweights provided just one quarter-finalist apiece, history will tell you that, even then, the 1994 final still pitted Brazil against Argentina, with Velez Sarsfield beating Sao Paulo to South America’s most coveted club title.