Remarkable runs and a seismic shock
In FIFA.com’s latest statistical review, we look back on a week in which one sequence was extended by Inter Milan, two more were curtailed in England and the USA, and which ended with momentous achievements by Hercules, Liga de Quito and Luisao.
UEFA Champions League goals was the milestone reached last night when Luisao notched Benfica’s opener in a 2-0 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv. The Brazilian’s landmark strike came three-and-a-half years after Peter Crouch – another man on target last night - grabbed goal number 4,000, and almost 18 years on from Daniel Amokachi hitting the net for the first time in the history of the current format. Hapoel were making their group stage debut, but this maiden defeat continued a miserable run for Israel's Champions League representatives, who have now been beaten in each of their last seven fixtures.
minutes without conceding in the Premier League was the run that came to an end for Chelsea and Petr Cech at Upton Park on Saturday. In the time between Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale scoring against them on 17 April and Scott Parker’s spectacular volleyed lob at the weekend, Carlo Ancelotti’s side had scored 34 goals of their own without letting one in, securing a maximum 21 points in the process. Cech, who went a record 1,024 consecutive minutes unbeaten during the team’s 2004/05 title-winning campaign, wasn’t the only man responsible for a noteworthy English milestone over the past week. Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated his 700th Premier League game in Manchester United’s 3-3 draw at Everton, while Alex Song scored Arsenal’s 1,000th goal in the competition under Arsene Wenger in the Gunners’ 4-1 win over Bolton Wanderers.
home matches unbeaten is the record now being protected by Inter Milan after the European champions extended a sequence that now spans 30 months and three separate coaches. Inter remained unbeaten at the San Siro throughout Jose Mourinho’s two-season stint but it was under Roberto Mancini that this remarkable run began in March 2008, and a 2-1 win over Udinese ensured that it has now been continued under Rafa Benitez. I Nerazzurri’s city rivals, meanwhile, were on the receiving end of an even more noteworthy result, with Cesena’s 2-0 win their first top-flight victory since 24 March 1991. Brescia also ended a long drought, marking the club’s 700th Serie A fixture with their first win in Italy’s top division for over five years.
matches into their maiden season, Philadelphia Union finally recorded their first clean sheet in Major League Soccer. The hero of Saturday’s 1-0 victory at home to Chicago Fire was Brad Knighton, who replaced Chris Seitz between the sticks to make just his second league appearance for Piotr Nowak’s team. On his first, away at FC Dallas on 8 August, the 25-year-old goalkeeper conceded a first-half penalty when the Union were ahead and was consequently sent off. David Ferreira converted the spot-kick and the hosts went on to win 3-1. However, Knighton’s heroics in front of a capacity crowd at PPL Park, which included one brilliant 32nd-minute save from Freddie Ljungberg, inspired the Union to a first home victory since 17 July, when a stoppage-time Sebastien Le Toux penalty inflicted defeat on Toronto FC.
clubs have now won the Recopa Sudamericana in consecutive years after Liga de Quito followed in the footsteps of Boca Juniors and Sao Paulo by achieving the feat last Wednesday. The competition, which pits the winners of the Copa Libertadores against the Copa Sudamericana champions, had never been won by an Ecuadorian team prior to last year. Having rewritten history in that respect, LDU emulated their 2009 success by completing a 2-1 aggregate win over an Estudiantes side who missed out on the chance to strengthen Argentina’s record tally of six Recopa titles.
year, three months and 19 days after their last home defeat in La Liga, Barcelona’s proud record at Camp Nou was shattered in the most unlikely of circumstances. Hercules provided the blow that floored the champions, becoming the first newly-promoted side to win away at Barcelona in over ten years and only the third, after Inter Milan and Sevilla, to beat Pep Guardiola’s side by a two-goal margin. Barça had won their last 11 home matches, scored at least three times in each of their last six La Liga fixtures and were protecting a 17-game unbeaten streak. They also completed 654 passes to Hercules’ 157. Amazingly, however, this was the Alicante outfit’s third successive win over the Catalan giants, having won both meetings in their last La Liga campaign 14 years ago.