Droughts, deluges and scoring sensations
Goals are at the heart of FIFA.com’s latest stats review, which features an overabundance at Ajax Lasnamae, a shortage in Cesena and plenty from the in-form trio of Demba Ba, Fernando Cavenaghi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
goals conceded over 36 matches have left Estonia’s Ajax Lasnamae just six short of an unwanted European record. The Meistriliiga’s whipping boys finished their league campaign on Sunday with a goal difference of -181, without a single win all season, and having scored in just one of their final 14 fixtures. However, while they drop to the second tier having conceded an average of 5.3 goals per game, the Lasnamae outfit’s goals against tally was still six short of the 198 conceded by Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Derzelez Zenica in 2000/01. As for the other end of the Meistriliiga table, defending champions Flora Tallinn claimed a ninth Estonian title, equalling the record haul of Sport Tallinn, who amassed every one of their championships between 1921 and 1933.
Premier League matches without defeat represents Newcastle United’s longest unbeaten run in the English top flight since 1951. The surprise sequence has taken the Magpies up to third, with over six months having now passed since they last tasted league defeat. The star of their unlikely rise has been Demba Ba, who has already become the first Newcastle player since Andy Cole to score multiple league hat-tricks in a single season – a feat that not even Alan Shearer managed during his time on Tyneside. The Senegalese striker has proved to be one of the Premier League’s most prolific predators since moving to West Ham United from Hoffenheim last season, accruing 15 goals in 18 starts for his two English clubs. Poor Wes Brown, at Newcastle’s north-east rivals Sunderland, can only dream of such figures. Putting through his own net against former club Manchester United on Saturday means that the centre-half now has more own goals (4) to his name than goals (3).
goals were scored by Fernando Cavenaghi in a 4-1 win at Gimnasia de Jujuy on Saturday that took River Plate back to the summit of Argentina’s Nacional B. It was the first time in over nine-and-a-half years that a Millonarios player had struck four times in a single match and, incidentally, Cavenaghi was also a prominent figure on that occasion. The 28-year-old, who enjoyed stints with Spartak Moscow, Bordeaux, Real Mallorca and Internacional in between his two spells at River, found the net twice in a 6-0 win over Union de Santa Fe in February 2002, while Ariel Ortega scored the remaining four. Cavenaghi’s latest goals took him to the top of the second tier scoring chart and kept River firmly on course to claim one of two promotion slots, and a return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
hat-tricks in the first 11 matches of a Spanish league campaign is a feat that, before Sunday, had never been achieved. Cristiano Ronaldo was the man to rewrite history, adding his latest treble of another prolific season in Real Madrid’s 7-1 victory over Osasuna. Earlier in the week, the former Manchester United star had scored the 100th goal of his Real career in a 2-0 win over Lyon, having earlier notched the club’s 900th goal in European competition – 56 years on from Miguel Munoz grabbing their first on 8 September 1955. Seeing off Les Gones guaranteed Real’s place in the last 16, with Jose Mourinho’s side becoming just the third team – after Juventus in 2004/05 and Lyon themselves in 2006/07 – to qualify with four wins from four and no goals conceded. Ronaldo’s Merengue tally, meanwhile, now stands at 103 goals from 106 appearances, with only Puskas having completed a Real century in fewer appearances (101).
goal in their last seven matches, and that from the penalty spot, has left Cesena rooted to foot of the Serie A table with one of the worst scoring records in the league’s history. Indeed, only one team in the Italian top flight – Mantova in season 1964/65 – have scored fewer goals after ten matches than Cesena’s three so far. I Cavallucci Marini are the only Serie A side yet to register a win this season, with their latest defeat having come at the hands of a Lecce side who were without a victory in their previous seven matches. Elsewhere, Udinese maintained their 100 per cent home record, although goalkeeper Samir Handanovic saw his run of 478 minutes without conceding brought to an end in the leaders’ 2-1 win over Siena.