Wednesday 11 May 2016, 09:46

Starlets, shutouts and final-day drama


years after they last kept three consecutive clean sheets in the Copa Libertadores, Rosario Central repeated the feat. Alejandro Lanari ensured La Academia began the 1987 campaign with three straight shutouts, but he conceded in every match thereafter as they crashed out in the group stage. By contrast, Rosario conceded in each of their first five outings this term, but Sebastian Sosa has not leaked a goal since as they navigated through Group 2, past Gremio and into the quarter-finals. The Brazilian side have now suffered last-16 elimination in their past four Libertadores campaigns. Marco Ruben netted three of Rosario’s four goals against Gremio to equal Rafael Maceratesi and Juan Antonio Pizzi as the club’s highest scorers in a single edition of the tournament (seven goals).


successive wins over De Graafschap, during which they had scored 52 goals and conceded six, was the run that came to an end for Ajax on Sunday – and it cost them an Eredivisie title they seemed destined to win. The Amsterdam goliaths went into the final day unbeaten in 17 games, and effectively required victory over opponents who had nothing to play for (the Super Farmers had already been condemned to the relegation play-offs) to make it five league crowns in six seasons. Ajax duly went ahead, but Bryan Smeets’ first goal for De Graafschap – the first away goal Ajax had conceded in 415 minutes – secured a 1-1 draw, which PSV took full advantage of. Luuk de Jong’s double inspired the Eindhoven outfit to a 3-1 success at PEC, and he duly became the first PSV player to score over 25 goals in an Eredivisie campaign since Mateja Kezman in 2002/03. The Switzerland-born Netherlands striker was, however, one shy of the competition’s leading marksman, AZ’s Vincent Janssen, who became the youngest player since Ronaldo in 1994/95 to net at least 25 times in a season.


goals without reply is what Barcelona bagged to record their biggest league win over Espanyol since Ronald Koeman, Pep Guardiola, Michael Laudrup and Hristo Stoichkov inspired victory by the same scoreline in November 1992. Lionel Messi broke the deadlock with his seventh free-kick of 2015/16 in all competitions – more than any other player based in Europe’s big five campaigns. Luis Suarez added a brace to make it 11 goals in his past four appearances, and then set up a tap-in for Neymar. The 29-year-old Uruguayan now has a combined total of 53 goals and assists in this La Liga – more than any other player in England, France, Germany, Italy or Spain. Suarez is followed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (35 goals, 13 assists), Cristiano Ronaldo (33 goals, 11 assists) Messi (26 goals, 16 assists) and Gonzalo Higuain (33 goals, 2 assists).


consecutive German Bundesliga crowns is the feat Bayern Munich became the first side to achieve at the weekend. The Bavarian giants had lifted the trophy three times on the spin from 1971-74, 1984-87 and 1998-2001, as had Borussia Monchengladbach from 1974-77. A double from Robert Lewandowski moved him level with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as the highest-scoring foreigner in a Bundesliga season on Saturday. Although Moritz Hartmann pulled one back for Ingolstadt by converting the first league penalty against Bayern in 774 days, but it was not enough to prevent Pep Guardiola’s team from clinching the title.


successive games is what Seattle Sounders’ Jordan Morris became just the third rookie in MLS history to score in on Sunday. The 21-year-old, who, on the urging of USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann, waived his senior season at Stanford University to turn professional in January, failed to score in his first five appearances in the competition. However, his fizzing, low strike that sealed a 2-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes saw him tie the achievements of Damani Ralph (for Chicago Fire in 2003) and Patrick Mullins (for New England Revolution in 2014). No player in his maiden MLS campaign has netted in five consecutive appearances. Cyle Larin holds the record for the most goals scored by a rookie in a season, having bagged 17 for Orlando City last year.

Quick hits


is the number of goals Cristiano Ronaldo has scored for Real Madrid at the Bernabeu following a double against Valencia.


is the total of Chinese Super League goals Wu Lei reached on Sunday – an admirable feat for a midfielder in a championship monopolised by foreign players. The 24-year-old’s latest effort earned Shanghai SIPG a fifth straight win that elevated them to third.


games is how long Werder Bremen had gone without a Bundesliga clean sheet until they managed a goalless draw with Cologne on Saturday. The previous record had been 28 matches.