Milestones and misfiring Africans
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Alessandro Del Piero achieving a scoring feat he previously hadn’t, landmark goals for Edinson Cavani and Michael Owen, and some wayward shooting in South Africa all feature in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, along with Iran posting a record-breaking win on the sand. 

150

English Premier League goals is the total Michael Owen became only the seventh player to reach on Saturday. The 33-year-old rose from the bench to grab a late consolation for Stoke City in a 3-1 defeat at Swansea City, thus ending his own near-18-month goal drought and ending his side’s run of 281 minutes without a league goal. Alan Shearer (260), Andy Cole (187), Thierry Henry (175), Robbie Fowler (162), Frank Lampard (158) and Wayne Rooney (151) are the others to have surpassed the 150-goal mark in the Premier League.

100

Serie A goals is the total Napoli striker Edinson Cavani reached on Sunday – ironically against the team against whom he scored his first! The-then Palermo player made his debut in the Italian top flight as a substitute against Fiorentina in March 2007, and took just 16 minutes to snatch his team a draw with a volley reminiscent of Dutchman Marco van Basten’s stupefying effort in the 1988 UEFA European Championship final. Cavani’s latest league goal earned second-placed Napoli a 1-1 draw in Florence that left them five points behind Juventus. The 25-year-old Uruguay international, for his part, moved on to 17 goals in 18 games in the 2012/13 Serie A, leaving him three clear of Udinese veteran Antonio Di Natale and AC Milan youngster Stephan El Shaarawy in the Capocannoniere race. Cavani is bidding to become the first South American to win the award since Hernan Crespo in 2000/01, the first Napoli player since Diego Maradona in 1987/88, and the first Uruguayan since Ettore Puricelli in 1940/41. 

55

unsuccessful shots had been registered before the first goal was scored at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2013. The South Africa-Cape Verde Islands and Angola-Morocco goalless draws included 17 attempts apiece, before the net rippled for the first time in the third match on Sunday. Another 21 shots had failed to find the target when Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu’s sliding finish fired Ghana ahead against Congo DR in what was the competition’s 220th minute. The goal proved the first of four in a 28-minute spell en route to a 2-2 draw. 

20

goals without reply is the number Iran put past the Philippines on Tuesday to record the biggest victory in AFC Beach Soccer Championship history. The previous record in the competition, which serves as a qualifier to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, was Japan’s 16-0 thumping of the Filipinos in 2006. This time around, the Philippines kept the deadlock intact for six of the 36 minutes and only trailed 3-0 after the first third. Iran nonetheless ran riot thereafter and hit an incredible ten goals in the final period on Katara Beach in Doha, Qatar. Mohammad Ahmadzadeh and Mohammad Ali Mokhtari got four goals apiece, Farid Boloukbashi, Moslem Mesigar and Ali Naderi each grabbed a hat-trick. 

4

goals in one game is what Alessandro Del Piero scored for the first time in his prolific, 21-year-old career on Saturday to inspire Sydney FC to a 7-1 win over Wellington Phoenix – their biggest ever in the A League. The 38-year-old forward’s exquisite dink set up the deadlock-breaker for debutant Joel Griffiths, and the former Italy international then hit three goals within 19 minutes – two splendid individual efforts sandwiching a penalty – to register the joint-fourth-fastest hat-trick in A-League history. Del Piero added another superb goal in the second half – becoming only the fourth player in A-League history to net four times in a game in the process, after Archie Thompson, Shame Smeltz (twice) and Besart Berisha – before being substituted to a standing ovation from the Allianz Stadium crowd eight minutes from time, with Sydney 6-1 up. Thereafter, Yairo Yau added a seventh for the hosts to equal the second-biggest victory in A-League history and condemn Wellington to their all-time heaviest defeat in the competition. That second successive triumph lifted Sydney, who were bottom of the ten-team division before Frank Farina’s installation in their hot-seat in late November, up to seventh.