Fast starts and late drama
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FIFA.com’s latest stats review features football at its dramatic best, from fast starts in England through a goalscoring keeper in Brazil to thrilling comebacks in Germany and Italy.

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seconds were on the clock when Emmanuel Adebayor fired Tottenham Hotspur in front against Everton on Sunday. The Togolese striker’s early effort was his club’s fastest Premier League goal in over 12 years, since Ledley King took just 10 seconds to net the opener against Bradford in December 2000. Adebayor did not, however, claim the record for the English top flight’s quickest goal this season, with Robin van Persie having struck one second earlier against West Ham United on 28 November. While Spurs were striking early, Newcastle United were leaving it late once again, with Papiss Cisse’s 93rd-minute goal against Fulham his third stoppage-time winner of the season – more than any other Premier League player. The Magpies have been making a habit of these kind of dramatic finishes lately, having won three of their last four top flight matches at St James’ Park with a decisive goal in injury time.

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Copa Libertadores goals have now been scored by Rogerio Ceni, establishing the veteran goalkeeper as Sao Paulo’s all-time leading goalscorer in the competition. The 40-year-old was on target from the penalty spot away to The Strongest of Bolivia, and his precise kick took him beyond Luis Fabiano, with whom he previously shared the record. The goal was the Soberano icon’s first on Bolivian soil, although he has previously found the net in Peru, Colombia, Mexico and, famously, in Japan during the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup. Nonetheless, his latest goal was not enough to secure any points for Sao Paulo, who fell to a 2-1 defeat that leaves them on the verge of crashing out of South America’s elite club competition.

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goals were scored by Cesc Fabregas in Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday, giving the 25-year-old the first hat-trick of his career. The former Arsenal midfielder became just the second Spaniard to score a league treble for Barcelona this century, following in the footsteps of Luis Enrique, who did so against Athletic Bilbao in 2001. The victory equalled Barça’s biggest win of the Liga season and maintained a 14-match unbeaten streak in matches played without their talisman, Lionel Messi. Better still for the club’s fans, the match witnessed Eric Abidal make his first league appearance in 14 months.

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goals behind and down to ten men was the position from which Fiorentina recovered to claim a 2-2 draw against AC Milan on Sunday. In doing so, La Viola became just the fourth team in Europe’s big five leagues this century to manage this particular feat, following in the footsteps of Manchester City (versus Blackburn in 2002), ReaL Zaragoza (Espanyol, 2007) and Cesena (Palermo, 2011). Milan, though disappointed, could at least console themselves with having extended their unbeaten Serie A run to 13 matches – their longest such streak since 2004. City rivals Inter, meanwhile, aren’t faring so well. They lost a third successive home Serie A match for the first time since 1956, going down 4-3 to a German Denis-inspired Atalanta side. The Argentinian striker took just 12 minutes to score the week’s fastest hat-trick and continued his fine record against an Inter side he has put six goals past in his last three appearances.

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stoppage time goals took Borussia Dortmund through to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last night and stretched their unbeaten run in the competition to a club record ten matches. Jurgen Klopp’s side became the first team in seven-and-a-half years to score twice after the 90-minute mark in a Champions League match, since Ajax against FC Thun in November 2005. The last team to come from behind with two injury time goals in the Champions League were, in fact, Manchester United in that famous Camp Nou triumph over Bayern Munich in 1999. Bayern, meanwhile, had their own reasons to celebrate this week after becoming the fastest Bundesliga champions in history, wrapping up the title with six games to spare. It also ended a long wait for their coach, Jupp Heynckes, whose third German championship came 23 years after his second: the biggest gap ever recorded by a coach in any of Europe’s big five leagues.