Possession, dinks and drama
Tika-taka defiance in Germany and title-race drama in Chile feature in FIFA.com’s latest stats review, along with indiscipline by a London team and a Londoner in Kansas City.
minutes of Grand Final action: that is what Adelaide United had played until Bruce Kamau finally got their first goal in the fixture on Sunday. The Reds had suffered 6-0 and 1-0 defeats in their previous two appearances in it, but the Kenya-born winger’s deadlock-breaker – coupled with a gorgeous Isaias free-kick and an opportunistic, late goal from Pablo Sanchez – earned a 3-1 win in the climax to former Spain midfielder Guillermo Amor’s first season as a professional coach. It was watched by a crowd of 50,119 – a record for a domestic football match in South Australia – and completed a stunning turnaround for Adelaide, who were winless and bottom after eight rounds of the regular season, which they also won.
seconds is all it took Ashley Cole to collect two yellow cards on Saturday. The LA Galaxy left-back was booked for time-wasting away to Sporting Kansas City, and six seconds after the 35-year-old restarted the action with a throw-in, he was adjudged to have fouled Benny Feilhaber, which earned him a second caution and a subsequent red in the 70th minute. Galaxy duly held on to earn a 1-1 draw and make it six matches unbeaten. Their marksman was Giovanni dos Santos, who has now scored four goals in his last four appearances. The Mexican showman’s last two have been exquisite chips, prompting team-mate Mike Magee to create the hashtag #ThingsGioCanChip, which quickly caught on.
per cent possession is all Atletico Madrid somehow averaged in back-to-back eliminations of Barcelona and Bayern Munich in this season’s UEFA Champions League. Xabi Alonso, 34, broke the deadlock at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday to become the third-oldest Spanish scorer in the competition’s history, behind Deportivo icon Fran and former Mallorca man Vicente Engonga, who netted a penalty as a 35-year-old – coincidentally after another Ashley Cole dismissal. Antoine Griezmann then made it 1-1 on the night and 2-1 to Atleti on aggregate in the 54th minute, despite the fact they had not managed a single touch in the Bayern penalty area beforehand. The 25-year-old Frenchman consequently surpassed Diego Costa as his club’s all-time leading marksman in the Champions League. Atletico ultimately allowed more shots against them (33) than in any game under the 2011-appointed Diego Simeone, but went through on away goals. It left Bayern coach Pep Guardiola having lost his last four Champions League semi-finals.
months: that is how long O’Higgins had gone without a home league defeat until a stunning loss saw them miss out on the Clausura crown and a place in the Copa Libertadores 2017 on Saturday. La Celeste began the final day two points clear at the summit and chasing an 11th match unbeaten against visiting Universidad Concepcion, but they suffered a 2-1 upset. That looked like it would suffice for O’Higgins until their former player, Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, netted a late winner for Universidad Catolica that snatched them their first championship since 2010 – they had, thereafter, finished runners-up on five occasions.
successive Premier League title races have now been concluded by an Eden Hazard goal. The 62-times-capped Belgian bagged the only goal against Crystal Palace – a headed rebound after his penalty was parried – that clinched Chelsea their fifth English top-flight crown last May. He hadn’t scored a home league goal since until Monday night, when his brilliant, late equaliser ended Tottenham Hotspur’s pursuit of Leicester City. Spurs finished the contest having become the first side in Premier League history to have nine players booked in a game. Furthermore, they have now gone 29 matches without victory at Stamford Bridge since a quintessential Gary Lineker goal secured a 2-1 success in 1990.
Quick hits 95 years after their foundation, Astra Giurgiu won their first Romanian top-flight title, denying Steaua a fourth successive conquest.
7 is what Stuttgart extended their record for own-goals in a Bundesliga season to courtesy of Federico Barba’s blunder in the 6-2 defeat at Werder Bremen on Monday.