Friday 26 May 2017, 08:37

A cannon, a boot and faith in youth

  • Usain Bolt in boots’ producing a supersonic sprint finish

  • Babies playing by Lake Rastasjon

  • A Chingford child who dared and did


years: that is how long France's Ligue 1 had gone without its top three finishers having foreign coaches until this season. Argentinian Luis Carniglia, Austrian Tony Marek and Czechoslovak Ludwig Dupal guided Nice, Lens and Monaco to first, second and third respectively in the 1955/56 season, while Portuguese Leonardo Jardim, Spaniard Unai Emery and Swiss Lucien Favre were in charge as Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and Nice made the podium on Saturday. Bafetimbi Gomis’s goal for Marseille at the weekend ensured that, for the first time since Vahid Halilhodzic, Andrzej Szarmach, Merry Krimau and Bernard Lacombe ensured it happened 34 years ago, four players reached the 20-goal mark in a Ligue 1 campaign – Edinson Cavani, Alexandre Lacazette and Radamel Falcao had already passed the figure. Lacazette’s double on the final day made him the fourth player to hit 100 top-flight goals for Lyon after Fleury Di Nallo (182), Lacombe (123) and Serge Chiesa (120).


goals is what Tottenham Hotspur scored to become just the third away side to score in an English Premier League match against Hull City on Sunday. Nottingham Forest were the first in 1995, with Bryan Roy and Stan Collymore bagging braces in a 7-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday, while four goals in ten minutes from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer propelled Manchester United to an 8-1 victory at Forest four years later. Harry Kane was central to Spurs’ 7-1 success on the final day, becoming the fifth player to score hat-tricks in back-to-back Premier League appearances after Les Ferdinand in 2003, Ian Wright in 1994, Didier Drogba in 2010, and Wayne Rooney in 2011. With three days left in the season, Kane trailed Alexis Sanchez by one goal and Romelu Lukaku by two in the race for the Golden Boot. Yet, despite the little Chilean and the hulking Belgian adding to their tallies, Kane finished four goals clear on 29 from 110 shots – two more than Middlesbrough netted from 351 shots. Spurs’ goals difference – +60 – was a record for a non-Premier League title-winning team, while both Arsenal and Manchester United finished outside the top four for the first time in 38 years.


minutes and 15 seconds of injury time had been played when Spain’s Nacho Diaz cruelly denied England the UEFA U-17 Championship trophy. The 16-year-old, who had barely played all tournament, headed home a corner from fellow substitute Jose Alonso to send the final to penalties for the fifth time in six years. Spain won the shootout to conquer an outright record third title – the Netherlands, Russia, England, France and Portugal have two apiece. David de Gea and Bojan had inspired La Roja to victory over an England side featuring Danny Rose, Victor Moses and Danny Welbeck in 2007, while Thiago Alcantara was the hero, as they defended their crown the following year.


players under the age of 21 have represented a team in a major European final three times over the last 30 years – and all, amazingly, were fielded by Ajax. Frank Verlaat (19), Aron Winter (20), Rob Witschge (20), and Dennis Bergkamp (18) helped Johan Cruyff’s side edge Lokomotive Leipzig in the 1987 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup decider. Kiki Musampa (18), Nordin Wooter (19), Kanu (19) and Patrick Kluivert (19) played, as Louis van Gaal’s charges fell just short against Juventus in the 1996 UEFA Champions League final. And Peter Bosz unleashed two teenagers, Matthijs de Ligt and Kasper Dolberg, and five 20-year-olds in Davinson Sanchez, Jairo Riedewald, Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek and David Neres, against Manchester United in the climax to the UEFA Europa League on Wednesday. De Ligt, at 17 years and 285 days, became the youngest-ever player to appear in a major European final. Meanwhile Ajax, at 22 years and 282 days, fielded the youngest-ever starting XI in a major European final. It was, however, 19-year-old Marcus Rashford – the youngest Englishman to start a European final since Nottingham Forest’s 18-year-old Gary Mills marked Hamburg’s Felix Magath in the 1980 European Cup final – and team-mates who celebrated at the Friends Arena.


times – that is how many a player had leapfrogged another on the German Bundesliga’s final day to snatch the Top Scorer Cannon… until Saturday. Robert Lewandowski began the final day one clear at the top of the chart, having scored 14 goals in his last 11 games, and at home to a Freiburg side that he scored both Bayern’s goals against in a 2-1 away win in January. The 28-year-old Pole was surprisingly not among Carlo Ancelotti’s four marksmen, however, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed his brace in the last minute against Werder Bremen to snatch Borussia Dortmund a 4-3 win, and himself the prize. With 31 goals in 32 appearances, Aubameyang became the first player in 40 years – and fourth overall after Lothar Emmerich, Gerd Muller and Dieter Muller – to score over 30 in a Bundesliga season.

Quick hits 50,692was the average attendance of Stuttgart, who won the German second tier, in 2016/17 – higher than the champions of England, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

30 victories in an English Premier League season is what Antonio Conte’s Chelsea became the first side to register.

6 successive Serie A titles is what Juventus achieved to become the first side to do so. Juve and Torino had won five straight Scudetti in the 1930s and ‘40s respectively.