Scoring, silverware and a sacking
© AFP

FIFA.com’s latest stats review looks back on a week to remember for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pablo Escobar, Bayern Munich and Sanfrecce Hiroshima, and one to forget for Mauricio Pochettino.

1407

days after taking charge of Espanyol, Pochettino – the longest-serving coach in La Liga – was relieved of his duties on Monday. The former Argentina international paid the price for his side winning just nine points from their opening 13 matches, and his sacking leaves Jose Mourinho and Paco Herrera of Celta Vigo (both 880 days) as the league’s longest-serving bosses. It was not, though, a good week for Mourinho, who watched Barcelona move 11 points clear of his Real Madrid side in La Liga while also setting a new Spanish benchmark by scoring at least four times in four successive away matches. The Catalans have also equalled Real Madrid’s record haul of 37 points from their first 13 matches in 1991/92, winning 4-0 at Levante on Sunday with a starting line-up that included only one player – Dani Alves – who had not come through the club’s academy.

250

club goals and 200 league goals were the dual landmarks reached by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Paris Saint-Germain’s 4-0 win over Troyes on Saturday. The Swedish striker scored a double to take his haul for the season to 12 in 14 matches – the best start to a French season by any player since Stephane Guivarc’h began the 1995/96 campaign with an identical tally. Also on target for PSG was Blaise Matudi, who scored the 350th goal of the current Ligue 1 season. The France international has found the net three times this season and, on each occasion, Carlo Ancelotti’s team have gone on to win 4-0.

42

years without a league championship was the run that came to a long-awaited end for the city of Hiroshima on Saturday. That was when Sanfrecce Hiroshima secured the J.League title, and a place at the FIFA Club World Cup, with a 4-1 win over Cerezo Osaka, while Vegalta Sendai, their only remaining challengers, went down 1-0 to Albirex Niigata. It was Sanfrecce’s first domestic crown since the J.League’s formation in 1993 and the first for Hiroshima since 1970, when Toyo Kogyo – Sanfrecce’s direct predecessors – won their fifth Japanese title. With Sanfrecce’s success having taken that number to six, the Hiroshima outfit are now just one behind both Kashima Antlers and Verdy Kawasaki (currently known as Tokyo Verdy) in the all-time standings.

34

points and a goal difference of plus-33 are the tallies that add up to a record-breaking start to the Bundesliga season for Bayern Munich. No team had ever been this well placed after just 13 matches of a German top-flight campaign, and Bayern’s momentum showed no signs of slowing at the weekend as they won 5-0 against Hanover. It was the fifth time this year that the Bavarians have won a Bundesliga match by a margin of at least five goals, equalling a record jointly-held by Hamburg (1980) and Stuttgart (1984). Bayern were also one of three German teams to make it through to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a game to spare – the first time a trio of Bundesliga sides have advanced from the group phase since 2004/05.

6

goals in one match was the feat that propelled Pablo Escobar into the headlines this week and cemented The Strongest’s position at the top of Bolivia’s Liga. The veteran striker’s remarkable haul came in a 7-2 win over Aurora and left him, unsurprisingly, perched at the summit of the league’s top scorers' list with 18 goals. Escobar also narrowly missed out on equalling the national record, set when Juan Carlos Sanchez scored seven times in a single match in 1983. At 34, the Paraguay-born former Bolivia international was as surprised as anyone, admitting: "I’ve never scored six goals in the same game before, not even playing with friends.” Nor was his the only notable achievement in the match, with one of Aurora’s consolation goals coming from Mauricio Baldivieso, who at 16 years and 126 days old was the youngest goalscorer in any top-flight game over the past week.