Golden oldies and African kings
© AFP

Nigeria’s triumph at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations is an obvious focal point in this week’s stats review, which also features Espanyol, Bayern Munich and fresh landmarks for the evergreen duo of Ryan Giggs and Javier Zanetti.

593

Serie A appearances have now been racked up by Zanetti, taking the Inter Milan stalwart beyond Gianluca Pagliuca and into second place in the division’s all-time list. Zanetti now trails only the great Paolo Maldini, whose record of 647 is sure to take some beating. As well as boosting their captain’s appearance record, Inter’s 3-1 win over Chievo was also marked by Diego Milito’s first goal of 2013. The Argentinian striker has now scored 60 times in 111 league outings for I Nerazzurri, and since the turn of the century only Christian Vieri (96) has managed more for the club.

108

Premier League goals have now been scored by Ryan Giggs, leaving the Welshman one clear of Paul Scholes and second only to Wayne Rooney (139). Yet what was most remarkable about Giggs’ latest strike – the opener in a 2-0 win over Everton – is that it maintained his unique record of having scored in each of the Premier League’s 21 seasons. It was also the veteran United star’s 651st league appearance; coincidentally his debut also came in a 2-0 victory over the Toffees way back on 2 March 1991. However, while his latest strike arrived 73 days after his 39th birthday, Giggs is not the oldest goalscorer in Premier League history. That honour belongs to his former United team-mate, Teddy Sheringham, who was 40 years and 268 days old when he found the net for West Ham United in 2006.

55

goals scored, seven conceded: that is Bayern Munich’s record after 21 Bundesliga matches this season. It has left Jupp Heynckes’ side with a goal difference of plus-48, comfortably beating the previous league record of 39 – set in 1998/99 by Bayern themselves - for this stage of the campaign. Saturday’s 4-0 win over Schalke, their biggest win in this fixture for over 17 years, also left the Bavarians with 54 points, equalling another of their own Bundesliga benchmarks. Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, were threatening records they would have rather left untouched, with Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to Hamburg their joint-worst in the history of this fixture.

4

unanswered goals at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday gave Espanyol their biggest away win in La Liga in almost seven decades. Only once in the club’s history, a 6-0 victory at Sabadell in 1945, have Los Periquitos won more convincingly on the road. It proved to be a good weekend Espanyol’s Catalan neighbours too, with Barcelona cruising to a 6-1 win over Getafe the same day. Tito Vilanova’s side have now scored four or more goals in 11 of their 23 Liga matches this season, although this was the first time since November 1996 that six different scorers have been on target for the club in the same top-flight match. Among those on target was Lionel Messi, who continued his fine start to 2013 by scoring for the 13th league match in succession, in the 13th minute, against a goalkeeper wearing the No13 shirt.

2

men have now won the CAF Africa Cup of Nations as both player and coach after Stephen Keshi doubled the membership of this exclusive club on Sunday. The 51-year-old had been part of the last Super Eagles team to claim the continental title in 1994, and follows in the footsteps of Egypt’s Mahmoud El Gohary (1959 and 1998). Sunday’s triumph was Nigeria’s first major trophy since the Olympic Football Tournament gold of 1996, and their third Cup of Nations crown overall. Victory over Burkina Faso was secured a superb solitary strike from Sunday Mba, maintaining the Cup of Nations final’s recent reputation as a low-scoring affair. The last five deciders, in fact, have produced a meagre combined tally of just three goals.