Streaks stretched and runs ended
© AFP

Sequences feature prominently in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, with Robert Lewandowski extending one of which he is rightly proud, while Basel, Alania Vladikavkaz, San Martin and Sunderland consigned others to the dustbin of history.

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years without a Swiss club in the semi-finals of a European club tournament was the run brought to an end by Basel last Thursday. In edging out Tottenham Hotspur on penalties in the UEFA Europa League after a 4-4 aggregate draw, FCB qualified for the last four of a continental competition for the first time in their history, and became their nation’s first representatives at this advanced stage since Grasshoppers in the 1977/78 UEFA Cup. The 2-2 second-leg draw extended Murat Yakin’s side’s unbeaten run at St. Jakob-Park to 16 matches, meaning they last tasted defeat at the stadium in August of last year. The Swiss outfit can also reflect with pride on having avoided defeat in all four of their most recent meetings with English opposition. There was a milestone for Benfica on the same night of Europa League action, with Eduardo Salvio scoring the club’s 600th goal in European competition as the Lisbon giants went through at the expense of Newcastle United.

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games without a win was the miserable sequence that came to an end for Russia’s bottom side, Alania Vladikavkaz on Monday – thanks to the first hat-trick of Royston Drenthe’s career. The 25-year-old Dutchman single-handedly inspired a 3-1 win over Mordovia Saransk that gave his struggling side their first victory since last August. In doing so, Drenthe not only claimed his first-ever treble, but eclipsed in one match his entire goal tally over 46 appearances at Real Madrid. The former Feyenoord player also became the fourth man, from the fourth different country, to score a Russian Premier League hat-trick this season. Leading the way in this respect had been Armenia’s Yura Movsisya, Brazilian Wanderson and Jan Holenda of the Czech Republic.

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consecutive Bundesliga matches have now been marked by a Robert Lewandowski goal, giving him the second-longest such run in the league’s history. By extending his streak against Greuther Furth on Saturday, the Pole moved beyond Klaus Allofs, who scored in ten straight games for Cologne in 1984. Still leading the way, though, is the great Gerd Muller, who found the net in 16 successive top-flight matches between 1969 and 1970. Elsewhere in Germany, two youngsters made record-breaking introductions to their Bundesliga careers. At 17 years and 251 days, Danish midfielder Pierre Hojbjerg became Bayern’s Munich’s youngest top-flight debutant, while Maximilian Arnold (18 years, 321 days) went one better by becoming the youngest Wolfsburg player to score a Bundesliga goal.

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goals were conceded by Boca Juniors against struggling San Martin on Saturday as the Buenos Aires giants suffered their heaviest defeat in a decade. Not since a 7-2 loss to Rosario Central in 2003 – which occurred, incidentally, during current coach Carlos Bianchi’s last spell in charge – have Los Xeneizes suffered such an emphatic defeat. The result was all the more astonishing as San Martin had gone into the match on a run of 16 matches without a victory. No-one expected the San Juan outfit to end that sequence against Boca, far less rack up the biggest top-flight win of their 105-year history. In another strange coincidence, this humbling defeat came 25 years after Boca’s last 6-1 loss – and that too came at the hands of an identically named opponent, with San Martin de Tucuman the team responsible.

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unanswered goals at St James’ Park gave Sunderland their biggest win in a top flight Tyne-Wear derby for 46 years. Not since 1967 had the Black Cats claimed such a convincing win over their bitter north-east rivals in the top division, and never in the 21 previous Premier League meetings had they managed three goals in the fixture. For Newcastle, this was the first derby since 1990 in which they had failed to score, ending a run of 25 straight matches in which the Wearsiders failed to keep them out. But they were not the only English team to see a long streak brought to an abrupt end. At Wembley on Sunday, Chelsea were finally defeated in the FA Cup, with Manchester City becoming the first team to triumph over the Blues in the competition – other than in penalty shoot-outs – in 30 consecutive matches.