- Sophomore seasons
- The unlikeliest of brace baggers
- ‘The Giant of the North’ score a towering scalp
per cent: that was Jose Mourinho’s record of winning the league title in his second campaign at a club until he failed at the sixth attempt. Mourinho had succeeded in his sophomore season at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea again before Manchester United’s hopes ended at the weekend.
years had passed since Colo-Colo went ten games unbeaten against Universidad de Chile in the league until a 3-1 win in their enemies’ backyard. Esteban Paredes was once again the star, with the 37-year-old’s double leaving him with nine goals in his last seven Superclásicos.
years since an Argentinian team won away to The Strongest – Silvio Marzolini, Carmelo Simeone, Antonio Rattin, Paulinho Valentim and Norberto Menendez reversed a two-goal deficit to win in La Paz – history was repeated. Unheralded Atletico Tucuman, despite their opponents registering 34 shots, won 2-1 to end the Bolivian heavyweights’ 19-game unbeaten home run in the Copa Libertadores.
years had passed since Monaco conceded more than six times in a Ligue 1 game – five-goal Carlos Bianchi fired Reims to an 8-4 victory in 1974 – until Paris Saint-Germain thrashed them 7-1 to win their fifth crown in six years. It left PSG on 103 goals with five games to spare – the record for a Ligue 1 season belongs to RC Paris, who hit 118 in 1959/60 but only finished third, well behind a Just Fontaine-spearheaded Reims.
passes is what Atletico Madrid put together leading to Antoine Griezmann’s smashing volley against Levante – the longest sequence in a home league game under Diego Simeone. It left the 27-year-old Frenchman with 11 goals in his last seven appearances in La Liga, while Fernando Torres was also on target to become the fifth player to reach 100 goals for Atleti in the competition behind Adrian Escudero (150), Luis Aragones (123), Paco Campos (120) and Jose Garate (109).
years had passed since a player scored two goals in three straight Serie A matches – Dario Hubner had been the last for Piacenza in 2001 – until rock-bottom Benevento’s Cheick Diabate got doubles against Verona, Juventus and Sassuolo. All six of the 6ft 4ins Malian’s goals were first touches, while in those three games he netted double what any other Benevento player has over the entire season.
goals without reply is what Vitesse – inspired by Mason Mount, Bryan Linssen and Tim Matavz – put past Sparta Rotterdam to record their biggest-ever Eredivisie victory. It broke the 7-1 win Sander Westerveld and Nikos Machlas helped them achieve in 1997. In it, Guram Kashia tied Theo Janssen’s record of 242 Eredivisie appearances for Vitesse, and the Georgia defender broke it four days later.
goals in three days is what Hamdi Harbaoui remarkably scored, including a 24-minute hat-trick on Saturday and a 23-minute one on Tuesday. The 33-year-old Tunisia striker has hit 14 goals in ten appearances since signing for Zulte Waregem in January to help a club that finished 2017 on a run of one point from a possible 24 take 21 from a possible 30 in the games in which he’s played.
games to spare: that is what Manchester City conquered the Premier League with to tie the English-top flight record held by Manchester United (in 1907/08 and 2000/01 and Everton in 1984/85). Incredibly, in what was his seventh season in England, Sergio Aguero finally made the PFA Team of the Year for the first time.