Relief, records and goalkeeping greatness
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Goalkeepers and goalscorers duel in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, with Nawaf Al Khaldi and Samir Handanovic facing off against Fernando Torres, record-breaking Lionel Messi and the increasingly prolific Bayern Munich.

1454

minutes without conceding was the remarkable run that came to an end for Al Qadisiya’s Al Khaldi on Friday. The Kuwaiti keeper was chasing a 17th successive clean sheet against Al Arabi, but found himself picking the ball out of the net after just seven minutes – and would do so twice more before the match was out. The 3-1 defeat, which saw Al Qadisiya drop their first points of their Kuwait League campaign, nonetheless barely dented the hopes of a team eight points clear at the top and bidding to secure a fourth successive championship. Al Khaldi, meanwhile, can reflect with pride on setting a new national record, although his streak ended some way short of the world record of 1816 minutes, set by Vasco da Gama’s Mazaropi between 1977 and ’78.

234

is the tally that has established Lionel Messi, at just 24 years of age, as Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer. The process of surpassing Cesar Rodriguez’s revised haul of 232 was completed last night, with Messi hitting a hat-trick – his 18th for Barça – in an action-packed 5-3 win over Granada. In doing so, the reigning FIFA Ballon d’Or winner – who has struck 17 times in his last seven club outings - also became the first player in Spanish football history to amass 54 goals across all competitions in a single season. Yet Messi wasn’t the only record-breaker at Camp Nou last night, as Andres Iniesta also set a new La Liga benchmark for successive matches undefeated, surpassing the run of 50 strung together by Real Madrid legend Emilio Butragueno.

150

days after his last goal, Fernando Torres finally rediscovered his scoring touch on Saturday as he inspired Chelsea to a 5-2 FA Cup win over Leicester City. The former Liverpool striker, who had endured 25 hours and 41 minutes of competitive action without a goal, scored two and laid on another couple as the Blues won their fourth successive match under Roberto Di Matteo. It was also a weekend to remember for Paul Scholes, whose 689th Manchester United appearance took him to third on the club’s all-time list, edging him ahead of Bill Foulkes (688) and closer to Bobby Charlton (758), but still some way short of Ryan Giggs (903). Norwich City, meanwhile, set an unwanted new Premier League record, with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United leaving the Canaries having conceded in each of their last 29 away matches.

50

per cent has been Samir Handanovic’s success rate in saving penalties over the past two Serie A campaigns, the Udinese keeper having kept out seven of the 14 he has faced. The latest player to be thwarted by the Slovenia international was Napoli talisman Edinson Cavani, who has now failed to convert three spot-kicks this season. The Uruguayan made ample amends though, scoring twice in the final nine minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw, moving to within two goals of the league’s leading marksman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (20). Elsewhere, it was a weekend to forget for Fiorentina, who suffered their heaviest-ever home defeat in Serie A, going down 5-0 to Juventus. The orchestrator of the win, Juve’s biggest on the road in almost 15 years, was Andrea Pirlo, who completed 134 of his 139 passes to set a new Serie A benchmark this season.

20

goals in three matches – an average of one every 10.5 minutes – was the sum total of Bayern Munich’s efforts during an extraordinary seven-day period. A 7-1 win over Hoffenheim kicked off the goal-fest, this before the Bavarians went one better last Tuesday by putting seven unanswered goals past Basel – their biggest-ever win in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages. The hero that night was Mario Gomez, who became the first German to score four times in Europe’s premier club competition since a certain Jupp Heynckes managed the feat for Borussia Monchengladbach in 1975/76. Heynckes, of course, is now Gomez’s coach, and he celebrated his 600th Bundesliga match in the dugout on Saturday as the Bavarians thrashed Hertha Berlin 6-0. Bayern, who were awarded three penalties for the first time in their top-flight history, only just missed out on becoming the second club to score at least seven times in successive Bundesliga matches, an achievement first managed by Duisburg 46 years ago this month.