Wednesday 09 March 2016, 06:06

Bursting, bouncing and bulletproof

A Brazilian imitating an NFL king, a boy wonder in Brittany, the end of an extraordinary reign and insuperability Stateside feature in’s latest stats review, along with a ‘bouncing’ farewell and 30x3.


yards from goal: that’s where Fernandinho was when he first touched the ball en route to scoring a gem that, despite being in Round 1, will take some beating for the Chinese Super League’s goal of the season. The 22-year-old Brazilian flamboyantly fooled his marker on the edge of his own box, dribbled the length of the field and slotted Chongqing Lifan ahead. Then, following Jackson Martinez’s equaliser for defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande, Fernandinho astonishingly netted another goal after receiving possession in his own half and not relinquishing it. That inflicted a first league defeat in 27 matches upon Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side. All 16 of the goals registered in Round 1 came from foreigners.


goals scored, zero conceded and a 100-per-cent record are statistics belonging to USA's women's national team in 2016. The Americans ended arguably the sweetest year in their history – they overwhelmed Japan 5-2 in an exhilarating FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Final – on a sour note, losing a 104-game unbeaten home record to China PR in New Orleans. Jill Ellis’s team have responded to that defeat in ‘The Big Easy’ with eight successive wins, though their last two were anything but easy. USA were less than 20 minutes away from a goalless draw with England in Tampa in their SheBelieves Cup opener, only for Crystal Dunn to score a breathtaking goal with what proved their only shot on target. The result ensured USA have recorded five victories and five clean sheets in five home games with the Three Lionesses. USA were even closer to losing their winning run on Sunday. Their Tennessee tussle with France, indeed, was in stoppage time when, following fine invention from 17-year-old prodigy Mallory Pugh, Alex Morgan coolly dispatched the only goal. The foremost heroine for the hosts was nevertheless Hope Solo, whose brilliance ensured the US net has not been breached in over 12-and-a-half hours. It was the 34-year-old’s 97th clean sheet for her country, extending her record for a male or female international goalkeeper. The inaugural SheBelieves Cup, which features four of the top five teams on the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, concludes on Wednesday evening, when USA must beat Germany in Boca Raton to lift the trophy at their opponents’ expense.


years is the tenure Europe’s longest-serving coach emotionally ended at the weekend. Ronnie McFall assumed the Portadown reins in December 1986 – six weeks after Sir Alex Ferguson took charge of Manchester United – and became the continent’s longevity leader upon the Scot’s 2013 retirement. The 70-year-old led his hometown club to its first Irish League title in 1989/90 and more than 20 trophies overall. McFall was due to step down at the end of the season, but a shock loss at home to second-tier Lurgan Celtic in the Irish Cup prompted him to hasten his exit. Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger (1996) is now the only 20th-century-appointed gaffer who has interminably held the same post.


years is the wait Al Rayyan dissolved to win the Qatari Stars League title by sprinting a staggering 21 points clear with five games to play on Saturday. Success at Al Wakrah gave Jorge Fossati’s side back-to-back 5-0 victories, six successive clean sheets and nine straight wins. Incredibly, on the two occasions Al Rayyan have returned to the top tier following relegation, they have conquered it at the first time of asking.


years and 9 months is what made Ousmane Dembele the youngest scorer of a Ligue 1 treble since January 2005, when Sochaux 17-year-old Jeremy Menez became the youngest player in the competition’s history to net a hat-trick. Dembele took only 56 seconds against Nantes on Sunday to net Rennes’ quickest league goal since Asamoah Gyan’s 20-second strike against Grenoble in 2009. By the break the rapid forward had added another two to become the highest-scoring teenager in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues this season on nine goals.

Quick hits 30La Liga hat-tricks is the landmark Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to reach on Saturday. The 31-year-old ended Real Madrid’s 7-1 rout of Celta Vigo with four goals, taking him past Telmo Zarra and into second, behind Lionel Messi, on the division’s list of all-time leading marksmen.

23 years and 3 months after making his professional debut for America, Cuauhtemoc Blanco made the last appearance of his glittering career for the same side. Despite having not played for almost a year, the 43-year-old in the No100 jersey wowed 67,420 inside the Estadio Azteca with his trademark cuauhtemina trick.

22years had passed without an Englishman scoring in the Japanese J.League – Grampus Eight’s Gary Lineker being the last in 1994 – before Jay Bothroyd bundled home a late winner for Jubilo Iwata at Urawa Red Diamonds on Sunday.

19 years after they last won by more than a four-goal margin in the Copa Libertadores, Bolivar smashed Deportivo Cali 5-0 on Thursday.

7 years and 4 months after his last hat-trick, for Manchester City against Stoke City, Robinho repeated the feat with a ‘perfect’ treble for Atletico Mineiro on Sunday.