Speed, sand, records and a revival
© AFP

In FIFA.com’s latest stats review, Alexandre Pato’s 24-second strike features alongside successive hat-tricks for Wayne Rooney, a run-ending defeat for Brazil’s beach stars, a birthday to forget for Dejan Stankovic, and the return to prominence of an Argentinian institution.

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 Inter Milan appearances was the milestone reached by Dejan Stankovic on Saturday as the Serbian midfielder celebrated another landmark: his 33rd birthday. Sadly for the former Lazio star, this double celebration was not the joyous occasion it might have been, as Inter crashed to a dramatic 4-3 defeat by Palermo. It was the first time I Nerazzurri had conceded four goals in Serie A since March 2004, and also the first time they had lost on the opening day of the season since a 2-1 defeat by Reggina in 2000. City rivals AC Milan also dropped points in a 2-2 draw at Lazio, although their unbeaten streak in this fixture now stretches back 27 matches and 13 years. Elsewhere, there was a notable first, with Cesena-Napoli at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi making history as the first ever Serie A match to be played on a synthetic pitch.

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 successive Brazil victories was the amazing run that finally came to an end in Sunday’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup final. Prior to their 12-8 defeat by Russia in the Ravenna 2011 decider, the Brazilians had survived unbeaten since losing on penalties to Portugal in the semi-finals of the 2005 edition. As well as becoming the first team to beat A Seleção during regulation time, Russia helped serve up the highest-scoring final in the tournament’s history, surpassing Brazil's 10-5 win over Switzerland in 2009. The silver medallists will point out that they enjoyed more shots (40-38), efforts on target (25-19) and possession (54 per cent), but Russia were nothing if not ruthless, comfortably finishing as tournament top scorers with an average of 7.3 goals per game. Consolation for the Brazilians came in the shape of an adidas Golden Scorer award for Andre, whose six goals in the semi-final and five in the final enabled the 34-year-old to pip three-time winner Madjer to the coveted award.

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 seconds had elapsed at Camp Nou last night when Alexandre Pato broke the deadlock with the fifth-fastest goal in UEFA Champions League history. The Brazilian’s early strike left him behind only AC Milan team-mate Clarence Seedorf (21 seconds versus Schalke, 2005), Alessandro Del Piero (20 seconds against Manchester United, 1997), Gilberto Silva (20 seconds, Arsenal-PSV, 2002) and the record-holder, Roy Makaay, who scored for Bayern Munich against Real Madrid after just ten seconds in 2007. Having followed up their quick-fire opener with an equaliser in the dying seconds, Milan also became just the third team to score in the first and last minutes of a Champions League fixture. Thiago Silva was the man responsible for their late leveller and, in all, Brazilians accounted for over half of last night’s Champions League goals (nine of 17), setting a new record for a single matchday.

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 years, 10 months and 102 rounds of matches after they last held sole leadership of the Argentinian top flight, Boca Juniors once again found themselves at the summit on Sunday. The resurgent Xeneizes are unbeaten in 16 matches, a run that stretches back over five months, and have conceded just once in their six Apertura fixtures thus far. However, Boca’s joy at reclaiming a position they consider rightfully theirs was tempered when, within 24 hours, Lanus joined them with a 4-0 win at Argentinos Juniors that leaves the two sides with identical tallies of points and goals for and against. Something, therefore, will have to give when the joint-leaders go head to head on Sunday at the Estadio Ciudad de Lanus, the venue which, for added intrigue, witnessed Boca’s last defeat back on 10 April.

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 hat-tricks in successive English Premier League matches is a feat that has now been achieved by four players after Wayne Rooney joined Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright and Didier Drogba in this elite group. Not since Ally Dawson 51 years ago had a Manchester United player claimed a treble in consecutive matches, and Rooney’s latest hat-trick in Saturday’s 5-0 win at Bolton Wanderers was his seventh overall, taking him level with the onlooking Sir Bobby Charlton. The Red Devils No10 has been in irresistible form for a free-scoring side that, with 18 in goals in their first four matches, have set a new Premier League scoring record, surpassing the 17 chalked up by Chelsea at this stage of last season. Their emphatic win at the Reebok Stadium was also United’s 200th away success of the Premier League era, a tally unrivalled across the division.