Penalty woe and goals galore
© AFP

Prolific goalscorers dominate FIFA.com’s latest stats review, from Leandro Damiao, Moussa Konate, Christine Sinclair and Abby Wambach at London 2012 to Marcus Tulio Tanaka in the J.League. Also under the spotlight are a dismal run of spot-kick failures at River Plate and a landmark achievement by Mexico.

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consecutive minutes without conceding was the streak that came to an end for Japan with Marco Fabian’s equaliser in yesterday’s semi-final against Mexico. The midfielder’s 31st-minute strike ended a run of four straight clean sheets and left the Samurai Blue 185 minutes short of the tournament record, set by Argentina between 1996 and 2008. It also provided the spark for a victory that saw the Mexicans become the first team from the CONCACAF region to reach the final of the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. Up against them in Saturday’s gold-medal match will be a Brazil side for whom Leandro Damiao has now scored six times, climbing to third in the list of his country's all-time leading Olympic marksmen behind Romario (7) and Bebeto (8).

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goals from USA and Canada established Monday’s thrilling clash at Old Trafford as the highest-scoring semi-final in the history of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. The epic encounter, which eclipsed the Americans’ 4-2 win over Japan in 2008, ended with its most prolific player on the losing side, with Christine Sinclair’s hat-trick ultimately in vain. The Canada icon nonetheless became only the third female player, after Germany’s Birgit Prinz and Cristiane of Brazil, to score an Olympic treble. With Abby Wambach also on target to maintain her record of having scored in every one of her five London 2012 outings thus far, the game ended with these two outstanding North American centre-forwards locked on 143 goals apiece, 15 short of Mia Hamm’s all-time world record. USA’s Christie Rampone, meanwhile, made her 21st Olympic appearance, leaving her second only to Brazil’s Formiga (24), and the US skipper can become the first footballer of either gender to win three gold medals when her team face Japan on Thursday.

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goals were contributed by one player in Nagoya Grampus Eight’s 5-1 win over Vissel Kobe on Saturday. This would have been impressive enough had the player been a striker, but the free-scoring individual in question was veteran centre-half Marcus Tulio Tanaka. The 31-year-old has long been known as a potent force in the opposition box, but never before had he managed four in one game. Indeed, Tanaka’s haul set a new national record, establishing him as the first defender in the history of the J.League to rack up such an unlikely tally.

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successive penalties have now been missed by River Plate after Rogelio Funes Mori continued this unhappy streak in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Belgrano. The trio of failures - one in each of River’s last three matches – began when Alejandro Dominguez missed against Patronato and continued when David Trezeguet came up short against Almirante Brown. Funes Mori’s latest miss was arguably the most distressing, though, as it extended Belgrano’s unbeaten run over Los Millonarios to five matches, while also evoking painful memories of Mariano Pavone’s penalty agony in last year’s infamous relegation play-off. Not that spot-kick woes have been restricted to River. Elsewhere, Racing Club’s Jose Sand missed two penalties in a single game, both of which were saved by Atletico Rafaela’s Guillermo Sara, to become the first player in Argentina’s top division to have two spot-kicks kept out by a keeper since Boca Juniors’ Miguel Brindisi on 5 December 1982.  

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goal every 76 minutes: that was Moussa Konate’s impressive average over the course of four appearances at London 2012. The Senegal striker struck five times in just four appearances prior to his team’s exit and, in doing so, became the first man since USSR’s Fyodor Cherenkov at Moscow 1980 to score in his opening four Olympic appearances. Spain could have done with a player as clinical as Konate. Despite being listed among the pre-tournament favourites, and attempting 41 shots over the course of London 2012, La Roja headed for home with the ignominious honour of being the only team not to have managed a single goal.