Friday 10 March 2017, 06:08

Comebacks and continental glory

A giant sent toppling down the Andes mountains, disbelief in a belief-captioned cup, and one of the most famous kicks in European history feature in’slatest stats review, along with the reason eagles should never fly to Germany.


minutes and 15 seconds is all Andrea Belotti required to score the fourth-fastest hat-trick in Serie A history on Sunday. The 23-year-old striker’s exploits turned a deficit into a 3-1 win against Palermo, and made him the first Torino player to score multiple trebles in a season since Wim Kieft in 1986/87. Belotti now has 22 goals in 24 league games this term. The last Torino player to net over that was 26-goal Benjamin Santos in 1949/50. Belotti sits second in the race for the European Golden Shoe, one behind Messi. The loss in Turin prompted Palermo to appoint their fourth coach of the campaign – just one week after Maurizio Zamparini ended a reign as chairman that had seen him make an astronomical 38 managerial changes in 15 years.


seconds of action is all that remained when Sergi Roberto volleyed home his first goal in 18 months and one of the most dramatic in UEFA Champions League history. It made Barcelona the first team in the history of the European Cup/Champions League to recover a 4-0 first-leg defeat and win a tie. Heading into the 88th minute, Barça, implausibly required three goals without reply. However, Neymar dispatched a fantastic free-kick and a penalty, before the Brazilian’s cross enabled Roberto to score with the game’s fourth-last touch. It was Neymar’s seventh assist of the 2016/17 Champions League, breaking Lionel Messi’s record for a single campaign. The 6-1 loss equalled PSG’s heaviest defeat in European competition, which had come when Rai, Leonardo, Patrice Loko and Co were thrashed at home by a Juventus side including Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero in the first leg of the 1996 UEFA Super Cup. Barcelona duly became the first team to record 300 victories in European competition, and have won all 15 home game in the Champions League since Luis Enrique took charge, scoring 50 goals and conceding just seven in the process.


goals is what Jorge Wilstermann scored for the first time in continental club competition on Tuesday – and against South America’s five-time champions. Wilstermann-Penarol was a re-run of the Copa Libertadores’s maiden match, which the Uruguayans won 7-1. It also produced eight goals, but the majority went into unexpected hands. The Bolivians had lost 11 and won just one of their previous 15 Libertadores games, but they became the first team to net six goals against Penarol in the tournament after Internacional in 1989 and Real Potosi 13 years later. The 6-2 victory, in what was Wilstermann’s 100th Libertadores appearance, proved the first time they had won by more than a three-goal margin since a 4-0 reverse of Universitario in 1986 in which Juan Carlos Sanchez bagged all their goals.


Africans have now scored a UEFA Champions League hat-trick after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang emulated Didier Drogba, Yakubu, Samuel Eto’o and Yacine Brahimi. The 27-year-old Gabon forward was, nonetheless, the first one to do it in the tournament’s knockout phase. The other Borussia Dortmund marksman in a 4-0 disposing of Benfica was Christian Pulisic, who at 18 years and 171 days became the third-youngest player to net in the knockout phase of the Champions League after Barcelona’s Bojan in 2008 and Kylian Mbappe for Monaco last month. Benfica have now lost all ten of the European Cup/Champions League matches they have played in Germany.


home losses in three days is what the USA women suffered – more than they had in the previous 13 years. Ellen White’s 11th-hour goal snatched England a 1-0 victory in New Jersey that handed the Americans their first defeat in 26 matches. Then, three days later in Washington, D.C., France won 3-0 to lift the SheBelieves Cup and ensure USA finished bottom of the four-team tournament. It was the first time the USWNT had lost by more than two goals since they fell 4-0 to a Marta-inspired Brazil in the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ semi-finals in 2007. The result also condemned USA to back-to-back home losses for the first time since Norway beat Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm and Co twice within a few days in February 2000.

Quick hits 55,927gave Bobby Dodd Stadium the fourth-biggest attendance record for a football match last weekend after Signal Iduna Park, Camp Nou and Old Trafford. The spectators watched Atlanta United lose their MLS debut 2-1 to New York Red Bulls.

999 minutes is what FC Copenhagen keeper Robin Olsen had gone without conceding at home until Ajax’s Kasper Dolberg netted against his compatriots in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.