What melted inside ‘The Chocolate Box’?
A Matilda penning a Roald Dahl-esque fantasy
A club-trotter and Golden Balls
189 days: that is how long Boca Juniors had gone without defeat in the Superliga Argentina – their last loss was 3-1 at home to River Plate in May – until Sunday. Racing Club won 2-1 at the Bombonera to deny Los Xeneizes a tenth straight victory.
87 years: that is how Manchester United’s unwanted record for most consecutive losses at the start of a campaign in one of Europe’s big five leagues had stood until Sunday. Federico Peluso’s 94th-minute winner for Sassuolo condemned Benevento to a 13th straight loss in Serie A.
43 matches without a clean sheet in the UEFA Champions League is the record run Igor Akinfeev finally ended in CSKA Moscow’s 2-0 win over Benfica. It was the Russia goalkeeper’s first shutout in the competition since he repeatedly denied Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry in a goalless draw at Arsenal over 11 years ago.
24 years after Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid drew 0-0 at the former’s home in La Liga, history repeated itself. Jose Luis Caminero, Kiko, Michel, Luis Enrique and Ivan Zamorano were unable to break deadlock in ‘The Madrid Derby’ at the Vicente Calderon in October 1993.
21 years had passed since an English side lost at home in Europe by a four-goal margin until Atalanta thrashed Everton 5-1. Lothar Matthaus, Jean-Pierre Papin, Jurgen Klinsmann inspired Bayern Munich to a 5-1 win at Nottingham Forest in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1996.
10 successive years had passed with Zlatan Ibrahimovic seizing the Swedish Golden Ball until Krasnodar defender Andreas Granqvist – fresh from helping Sweden keep back-to-back clean sheets to pip Italy to a FIFA World Cup™ place – became the first other player since Freddie Ljungberg in 2006 to clasp the prize.
9 goals in five internationals – all against FIFA Women’s World Cup finalists – is what Sam Kerr has scored… amazingly after netting just eight times her first eight-plus years and 50-plus caps as an Australia player. The 24-year-old’s double helped the Matildas best China PR 3-0 to make it six successive victories.
8 successive matches is what Valencia – who have trailed for just eight minutes this term – have won for the first time in La Liga’s 88-year history. Los Che’s points haul of 30 after 12 rounds is also a personal best – they had 22 and 24 when they went on the win the league under Rafa Benitez in 2001/02 and 2003/04 respectively.
7 clubs in the Champions League is what Ibrahimovic became the first player to represent when he came on for Manchester United at Basel. Javier Saviola played for six sides in the competition, while Hernan Crespo, Fernando Morientes, Nicolas Anelka and Samuel Eto’o ran out for five.
4 players have now scored in their team’s first five games of a Champions League campaign after Neymar emulated Alessandro Del Piero (1995/96), Sergi Rebrov (1997/98) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2016/17). The Brazilian’s brace helped Paris Saint-Germain thump Celtic 7-1 to break Borussia Dortmund’s record for most goals in a group-stage campaign – 24 and counting.