Heroes emerge as giants fall
© AFP

FIFA.com’s latest stats review reflects on a bad week for English and German giants, but milestones to savour for Guillermo Burdisso, Fabrice Olinga, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Ruiz.

50

international goals was the landmark reached by Guatemala icon Ruiz in last Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Paraguay. The Veracruz striker, who became his country’s all-time record scorer three years ago when he surpassed Juan Carlos Plata's previous record of 35, also maintained his ratio of scoring one goal every two games for Los Chapines, with strike number 50 coinciding with cap number 100. The 32-year-old was not, however, the only Latin American forward hitting the headlines last Wednesday. A certain Lionel Messi continued his own outstanding run of international scoring form by finding the net in Argentina’s 3-1 win over Germany. La Albiceleste have now won five matches in succession, and all five have been marked by a Messi goal. The Barcelona star also helped his team avoid defeat in Germany for the sixth match in a row, extending a run that dates back to the last home win in this fixture - penalty shootouts excluded - in April 1988.

16

years and 98 days was the age at which Fabrice Olinga became the youngest goalscorer in the history of La Liga on Saturday. The Cameroonian youngster, a product of the Samuel Eto’o foundation, grabbed the winner for Malaga against Celta Vigo six minutes from time and, in doing so, eclipsed the record of 16 years and 289 days set by Iker Muniain in 2009. There was also a notable milestone for Gonzalo Higuain, who took his Real Madrid tally to 104 and drew level with Brazilian legend Ronaldo as the club's joint-fifth highest-scoring foreigner, behind Alfredo Di Stefano, Hugo Sanchez, Ferenc Puskas and Cristiano Ronaldo. And there was a thriller served up in Bilbao, where Real Betis’ 5-3 win over Athletic gave La Liga its first eight-goal encounter on the opening weekend since a 4-4 draw between Espanyol and Levante in 1963.

6

Bundesliga clubs crashed out in the first round of the DFB Pokal this week, the first time in 25 years that so many top-flight teams have been ousted at this stage of the competition. The most significant shock came in the capital, where Berliner AK claimed the biggest win by a fourth-tier club over a Bundesliga outfit in the tournament’s history by thrashing Hoffenheim 4-0. Werder Bremen were also among the victims, going down 4-2 against Munster, and have now lost three successive Pokal matches for the first time since 1965.

3

unanswered West Bromwich Albion goals handed Liverpool their heaviest opening-day defeat in the English top flight in 75 years on Saturday. Not since Chelsea beat them 6-1 in 1937 have the Reds been beaten so resoundingly at this early stage of a domestic campaign, and their cause was not helped by conceding two penalties – meaning they have now gifted West Brom four spot-kicks in their last three visits to the Hawthorns. Manchester United also lost, slumping to a 1-0 defeat at Everton in Sir Alex Ferguson’s 500th away league match as the club’s manager, of which he has won 243, drawn 138 and lost 119. It is the first time in two decades that both the Reds and the Red Devils have lost on the opening weekend of a league season. Arsenal, for their part, fared little better, with a goalless draw against Sunderland meaning the Gunners have now gone four home league games without a win for the first time since 1995.

2

minutes and one touch was all that Guillermo Burdisso required to make an instant, goalscoring impact at his new club, Boca Juniors on Saturday. The 23-year-old centre-half headed the opener in a 3-1 win over All Boys with his first touch for Los Xeneizes and, in doing so, continued a remarkable run of scoring on his debut for every one of his Argentinian clubs. Burdisso, the brother of Roma stalwart Nicolas, even took this happy habit into the international arena when he found the net in his first and, to date, only appearance for Argentina, a 3-2 win over Costa Rica in January 2010. Furthermore, there is a common thread to the manner of Burdisso’s goals, with headers accounting for all 11 of his top-flight strikes.