Trebles and troubles
In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals wins. Yet in every single match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is. That's why, each week, FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind the results.
This week's review reflects on the hat-trick heroics of Vedad Ibisevic and Robbie Keane, along with the woes of Boca Juniors and Portsmouth.
years and 156 days after their last away victory over Parma, Cagliari won 2-0 at the Ennio Tardini. Since a 2-1 triumph in Serie B during the 1954/55 season, the Sardinians had lost this fixture 14 times and drawn it on nine occasions prior to Sunday's upset. Parma kicked off the match in a rich vein of form and striving to extend a 23-match unbeaten record at home, while Cagliari were looking for only their second success of the season. However, Teda half-volleyed the visitors into a shock early lead, before Daniele Dessena sealed his former club's fate just before the hour mark.
minutes was all it took Vedad Ibisevic to score the fifth-fastest hat-trick from kick-off in German Bundesliga history, and help Hoffenheim beat Hertha Berlin 5-1 on Sunday. The 25-year-old went into the game having failed to get off the mark this term, but he took a mere 47 seconds to volley home the campaign's quickest goal. Two Ibisevic headers then put Hoffe firmly en route to a fourth successive victory that elevated them to third in the division, while Hertha's sixth straight defeat prompted them to sack coach Lucien Favre. Coincidentally, the Bundesliga's fastest-ever treble was also posted in late September, and in a 5-1 victory; Borussia Monchengladbach's Herbert Laumen's achieving the feat against Hannover in 1967.
second-half minutes was all it took Tottenham Hotspur forward Robbie Keane to score this past week's fastest treble in a 5-0 defeat of Burnley. The 29-year-old's place in the starting XI had been in doubt; a consequence of four successive blanks and Peter Crouch, his deputy, hitting a hat-trick in a League Cup win over Preston North End three days earlier. However, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp kept faith with his captain, who responded by breaking the deadlock from the penalty spot in the first half, and finding the target in minutes 73, 76 and 86 to seal a 5-0 victory. In doing so, Keane became the 20th player to register a quartet in a Premier League game and the first for Tottenham since Jurgen Klinsmann in May 1998, when three of the German's four goals in a 6-2 success at Wimbledon came within five minutes of the second half kicking off.
successive defeats is what Portsmouth became the first team in 79 years to suffer in the English top flight on Saturday. Pompey's 1-0 loss at home to Everton, which left them four points adrift of second-bottom Hull City, also made them only the fourth team to register zero points from their opening seven matches. Liverpool lost their first eight games in 1899/1900, before success at the ninth time of asking helped them survive, while Bolton Wanderers kicked off the 1902/03 season with seven straight losses en route to relegation. The division's all-time worst start to a campaign was recorded by current champions Manchester United, who were beaten 12 times in 1930/31 and duly succumbed to demotion.
points is the total on which Boca Juniors remained following their sixth game in the Apertura 2009 on Saturday, making it the worst start to a campaign in the club's history since the competition adopted its existing format in 1991. Los Xeneizes' third consecutive defeat came at leaders Estudiantes, whose 2-1 victory took them on to 16 points from a possible 18 and left their visitors in serious danger of missing out on a place in the Copa Libertadores 2010. Boca will attempt to arrest their league slump against Velez Sarsfield, who recently eliminated them from the Copa Sudamericana, this weekend.