English Premier League appearances without a goal was the run that came to a long-awaited end for John Obi Mikel on Saturday in outing number 185. In the history of the Premier League, no outfield player has ever made ever more appearances before scoring their first goal than Chelsea’s Nigerian midfielder. It has, though, been a season for previously low-scoring midfielders to find their shooting boots, with Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey having already hit the net seven times – a tally accrued from just eight shots on target. One full-back has also been getting in on the act, with Leighton Baines on Saturday curling in two superb free-kicks to inspire Everton’s 3-2 win over West Ham United. The England international thus became one of only three players – the others being Cristiano Ronaldo and Sebastian Larsson – to score twice from a direct set-piece in the Premier League over the past five seasons.
years and seven months was the age at which the Netherlands’ Roel Liefden became the oldest player to participate in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in his team’s opener against Solomon Islands last Thursday, beating the previous record-holder – Italy’s Maurizio Galli – by a year and five months. Even more remarkable was the record that followed in the Oranje’s next match against El Salvador, when Roel and 23-year-old Diego Liefden became the first father-and-son duo to take part in the same match at a FIFA tournament. History has been made throughout the opening week at Tahiti 2013, with the Liefden’s team-mate, Frank van der Geest, among five goalkeepers to have found the net already in this edition – a new tournament record. There has also been joy for the hosts, with Tahiti qualifying for the knockout phase of a FIFA tournament for the first time in their history.
per cent was the rate of possession with which Barcelona emerged from Saturday’s 4-0 win at Rayo Vallecano. This might be not a remarkable statistic for any other team but, for Barça, it ended a run of 316 consecutive matches in which they had dominated the ball. To put that streak in context, it dates back to May 2008 and encompassed the entire reigns of coaches Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova. Not that Gerardo Martino’s side suffered any material consequences from losing the battle for possession. The 4-0 win maintained their unblemished start to the Liga season, and Pedro became the first Barça player - besides Lionel Messi - to score a hat-trick away from home in La Liga since Giovanni dos Santos in May 2008.
national championships was the landmark reached by Iceland’s KR on Saturday with a title-clinching 2-1 win over Valur. Already Iceland’s record champions – their closest challengers, Valur, have 20 titles – the Reykjavik outfit have re-established themselves as the most dominant domestic force in the Nordic region. Finland’s HJK, with 25 titles, are the team they have moved ahead of, while Norway’s Rosenborg (22) and HB of the Faroe Islands (21) follow closely behind. All three of these regional rivals currently lead their league tables though, and are on course to claw back KR’s newly established advantage over the coming weeks.
unanswered goals against Sassuolo on Sunday gave Inter Milan their biggest Serie A win in over 47 years. Not since March 1966, when they beat Brescia by the same scoreline, had Inter won so handsomely in the Italian top flight. The victory fell just one goal short of the league’s all-time record, which was set when Padova beat Venezia 8-0 in 1949 and equalled six years later by AC Milan against Genoa. It was a win for which Inter were indebted to their South American legion, with no fewer than four different Argentinians on target - a first for a Serie A match this century. Among that Albiceleste quartet was Diego Milito, who grabbed a double on his return from injury, ending a run of over seven months without a goal. It wasn’t such an enjoyable weekend for city rivals AC Milan, though, with I Rossoneri losing at home to Napoli for the first time since 1986 and seeing Mario Balotelli miss his first-ever penalty, ending a run of 22 successive conversions.