Davids toppling Goliaths in England and Africa feature in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, along with the invincibility of a goalkeeper in France, a breathtaking goal in the United Arab Emirates, and scoring feats for two Argentinians.
minutes without conceding is what Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has gone following a seventh successive clean sheet in the league on Sunday. The 26-year-old Italian last leaked a Ligue 1 goal when Valentin Eysseric’s 85th-minute effort earned Nice a 2-1 defeat over Carlo Ancelotti’s side on 1 December, but the Parisians have since shut out Evian Thonon Gaillard, Valenciennes, Lyon, Brest, Ajaccio, Bordeaux and most recently Lille to assume pole position in Ligue 1. Sirigu is still some way short of the Ligue 1 record of 1,176 minutes without conceding, set by Bordeaux's Gaetan Huard in 1992/93. PSG only managed two shots on target against Lille – their lowest total in the 2012/13 Ligue 1 – and both were unsuccessful. However, a 67th-minute Aurelien Chedjou own-goal proved enough for them to complete the league double over Les Dogues for the first time since 1996/97.
years since the last time a non-league side dumped top-flight opposition out of the FA Cup, Luton Town repeated the feat against Norwich City on Saturday, thanks to substitute Scott Rendell’s unanswered 80th-minute goal. And while Sutton United’s 2-1 win at home to Coventry City in 1989 was mightily impressive, Luton’s triumph was arguably even more so given how the gulf in class has widened between the English divisions and by the fact the Hatters were on their travels. It was not a good weekend for the elite in the FA Cup, with five top-tier sides being defeated by ones from the lower leagues for the first time since 1994 and only seventh since 1927. Liverpool, despite Luis Suarez’s eighth goal in as many games, lost 3-2 at League One’s Oldham Athletic to exit the competition at the hands of lower-league adversaries for the sixth time since 1999/2000, while Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur were also upset.
years since Algeria became the last defending champions to suffer first-phase elimination at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Zambia suffered the same fate. Herve Renard’s side drew all three of their Group C outings, and though that extended the country’s record undefeated run in the competition to 11 matches across three editions, it proved insufficient to secure them a top-two place and a trip to the knockout phase. Nigeria beat Zambia to that due to Victor Moses’s late brace earning them a 2-0 win over Ethiopia, but the section was unexpectedly won by Burkina Faso. An 11th-hour Alain Traore goal snatched Les Etalons a 1-1 draw with Nigeria first time out, before the same player scored twice to inspire Paul Put’s men to a 4-0 defeat of Ethiopia and first victory in 19 attempts in the Cup of Nations since a 1-0 reverse of Guinea in 1998. Then, a goalless draw with Zambia sent Burkina Faso beyond the first stage of the competition for only the second time in history.
Al Ain players – the entire team including the goalkeeper – touched the ball in the 19-pass move leading to the goal which sealed a 4-0 win over Ajman on Saturday. It was scored by Yousuf Ahmad – ironically with his first touch after rising from the bench! The victory – which was indebted to 21-year-old United Arab Emirates playmaker Omar Abdulrahman, who was involved in all four goals – was Al Ain’s ninth in succession and extended their lead at the top of the UAE Pro League to nine points with 12 rounds remaining. Al Ain have now scored a staggering 53 goals in their 14 outings this season (3.8 per game) – one more than they did in their title-winning, 22-game campaign of 2011/12.
goals is what Sampdoria’s Mauro Icardi and Lionel Messi of Barcelona netted at the weekend – a feat only one man had managed previously in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues in 2012/13. That man was Falcao, who was on target five times in Atletico Madrid’s 6-0 dismantling of Deportivo in December, meaning all three hail from South America. The 19-year-old striker, who joined Samp from Barça in 2011, helped the Genoa outfit thrash Pescara 6-0 – the first time they have scored more than five times at their Stadio Marassi home since a Vincenzo Montello treble and a Jurgen Klinsmann goal inspired a 6-3 defeat of Napoli in December 1997. Messi, meanwhile, fired Barcelona to a 5-1 win against Osasuna that left him having scored nine of his side’s last 15 goals, while he surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo to become the only man to have netted four goals in a La Liga game more than twice since the turn of the century.