Predators, a prodigy and global glory
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In this week’s stats review, goalscoring feats from Abby Wambach, Neal Maupay and Stephan El Shaarawy feature alongside landmark titles for two South American giants.

150

international goals was the milestone reached by Wambach with a double for USA against China PR last Wednesday. The 32-year-old’s goals, which helped secure a 4-0 win for the Americans, leave her just eight short of compatriot Mia Hamm’s world record. Also in pursuit, though, is Christine Sinclair (143), who last week picked up the Lou Marsh award as Canada’s top athlete in 2012. For now, though, Wambach has strengthened her position as the leading goalscorer among active female players, and her goals against the Chinese continued USA’s impressive dominance of this fixture. Indeed, since 2003, the Americans have played their 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ final opponents on 19 occasions, winning 16, drawing three and losing none.

16

years, four months and one day was the age at which Neal Maupay scored an injury-time winner for Nice on Saturday. In doing so, the Versailles-born forward became the second-youngest goalscorer in Ligue 1 history, and the youngest in 34 years, since Laurent Roussey set the record by finding the net for Saint-Etienne in 1978 at the age of 16 years, 3 months and 25 days. Earlier in the year, Maupay came close to another record, debuting just 31 days after his 16th birthday, leaving him second only to Christopher Aurier, who at 16 years and 17 days was the youngest player ever to turn out in the French top flight. The Nice prodigy could certainly not have wished for a more dramatic way to open his senior account, with his winner against Evian coming three minutes into stoppage time in a match in which his team had been two goals down.

14

Colombian championships is the haul that means Millonarios are once again their nation’s record champions. It has, though, been a long wait for the Bogota giants to add to their title tally, with 24 years having passed since they last laid hands on the league trophy. America de Cali had drawn level on 13 during the intervening years, while Atletico Nacional were closing in with 11. However, thanks to a penalty shoot-out win over Deportivo Independiente Medellin the Torneo Finalización, Millonarios – Colombia’s dominant force of the 1950s and ‘60s – will be competing in the Copa Libertadores next season for the first time in a decade-and-a-half.

14

goals have been scored by Stephan El Shaarawy this season - without the aid of penalties. Across Europe’s traditional top five leagues, only Lionel Messi (24) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (16) have been more prolific with spot-kicks taken out of the equation. The 20-year-old's tally is also better than anything Ibrahimovic had at this stage of the season during his time with Milan, and matches the pace set by Andriy Shevchenko’s during his most prolific campaign at the San Siro in 2003/04. El Shaarawy’s latest goal came in a 4-1 win over Pescara in which Antonio Nocerino kicked off the scoring after just 36 seconds with the second-fastest goal of the Serie A season. Elsewhere, Antonio Di Natale climbed into double figures for the eighth separate top-flight campaign, while Andrea Pirlo scored his fourth free-kick of the season. No fewer than 20 of Pirlo’s 49 Serie A goals have come direct from free-kicks, a tally which over the last 30 years is matched only by Roberto Baggio and Gianfranco Zola, and bettered by Alessandro Del Piero (22) and Sinisa Mihajlovic (27).

5

straight European wins was the sequence that came to an end in Sunday’s FIFA Club World Cup final. Corinthians’ 1-0 victory over Chelsea ended the Old Continent’s recent stranglehold and reclaimed the title O Timão first won 12 years ago in the tournament’s inaugural edition. It also ensured that the FIFA Club World Cup trophy returned to Brazil for the fourth time, strengthening its position as the most successful nation in the competition’s history. Brazil also rule when the old Intercontinental Cup is taken into account, with this latest title edging them on to ten overall, one ahead of Argentina and Italy. England, meanwhile, have been successful just twice, and Chelsea were their latest representatives to come up short. Rubbing salt in the Londoners’ wounds was a red card for Gary Cahill, who became the first player to be sent off in a FIFA Club World Cup final since another Premier League star, Nemanja Vidic, in 2008.