Stars find their shooting boots
In this week’s statistical review, FIFA.com looks closer at the eye-catching goalscoring exploits of Messrs Ronaldo, Del Piero, Gourcuff and Chamakh, and reflects on mixed fortunes for Buenos Aires’ big two.
Serie A goals for Juventus was the milestone reached by Alessandro Del Piero on Sunday, taking him level with Bianconeri legend Giampiero Boniperti’s record tally. Boniperti, who is now the club’s honorary president and played a crucial role in signing Del Piero as a youngster, wrote an open letter of congratulations in Gazzetta dello Sport in which he told his successor: “I'm not a liar and admit that I'm a little bit sorry, but the fact that it's you who has my record... It gives me satisfaction to see you achieve this." Del Piero’s landmark goal capped an accomplished 4-0 victory over Lecce in which on-loan midfielder Alberto Aquilani scored his first Serie A goal in over two years. Juve have now scored in each of their last 13 competitive home matches, racking up 31 goals during that period, and now find themselves fifth in Serie A.
UEFA Champions League appearances have now been accumulated by Iker Casillas, taking the Real Madrid captain past Oliver Kahn’s previous record. The 29-year-old goalkeeper marked the occasion by helping Los Merengues set a new record of their own as Jose Mourinho’s side extended to 900 minutes their run without trailing in all competitions, surpassing the previous benchmark of 828 minutes set during season 1991/92. While Real’s defence has undoubtedly been excelling, seven goals in his last five games also suggests that Cristiano Ronaldo is now back to his devastating best. With six goals and four assists to his name this season in La Liga alone, the former Manchester United star is currently the Spanish top flight’s leading marksman and its foremost creator. Ronaldo is also coming good at international level, having scored in back-to-back matches for Portugal for the first time in over three years, and in doing so matching in two appearances with new coach Paulo Bento the tally he established in 17 under Carlos Queiroz.
months have now passed since River Plate last won a competitive match outside Buenos Aires province. Not since a 2-1 win away to Rosario Central on 15 February 2009 have Los Millonarios won in any town or city other than the Argentinian capital, and their travails on the road continued in Mendoza on Sunday. River enjoyed ample opportunities against Godoy Cruz to end the sequence and were twice in front, but their hosts – who are now unbeaten in four – fought back on both occasions to secure a 2-2 draw. While River continued one unwanted sequence, old rivals Boca Juniors succeeded in bringing another to an end, keeping a clean sheet for the first time since a 2-0 win over San Lorenzo 13 outings and 172 days ago.
goals in their opening three matches have enabled Arsenal to set a new high-scoring record for this stage of a Champions League campaign, breaking the record of 12 set by Real Madrid in 2002. Last night’s 5-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk also witnessed Marouane Chamakh become the first player to score in six consecutive Champions League matches, having found the net in his first three for Arsenal and his last three for Bordeaux. Cesc Fabregas, meanwhile, marked his comeback by scoring from the spot, and despite the fact we are still in October, the eight penalties awarded to the Gunners this season means they have already surpassed their tally for season 2009/10 in its entirety.
months and 945 minutes without a goal was the drought Yoann Gourcuff brought to an end when he found the net in Lyon’s 3-1 win over Lille on Sunday. The France midfielder’s last top-flight goal had come on 21 March, when he scored for Bordeaux, ironically, in a 3-1 victory over Lille. Now, having netted in each of his country’s recent UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers, the previously goal-shy Gourcuff can boast three in as many games. Nor was his the only unwanted run to come to an end in Ligue 1 over the weekend, with Arles-Avignon earning their first point of the season after 810 minutes of action. It was, however, a memorable weekend for all the wrong reasons for Rennes’ Tongo Hamed Doumbia, who was sent off just 147 seconds after coming on as a substitute – setting a new record for this Ligue 1 campaign.