Another week of footballtoptens – we won’t be talking Liverpool going out, Real Madrid going through, Balotelli’s bib (though that was funny) or touchline bans. We will be updating you on the Sudan derby, Bebeto’s baby, the Champions Leagues you don’t know about and Top Ten from the Champions League you do know about, answering the following – which country has the most goals in this year’s tournament?.
Last week’s stories
In the Sudan derby, Al Merreikh beat Al-Hilal 1-0 behind closed doors. In the Guadalajara derby Atlas and Chivas played out a 1-1 draw. Brisbaner Roar got to the A-League final, 0-0 after 90 minutes, trailing 2-0 in extra time they managed 4 goals without reply to take the A-League crown and extend their unbeaten record to 28 matches. After reporting on Week 1 of the J-League last week, news this week that the tournament has been suspended, for this month at least, for obvious reasons. Thoughts and prayers with everybody affected. IturbeWatch: Think we’ll keep watching for you at least until he goes to Porto and you can all watch him for yourselves! Well taken goal in the league on Sunday volleying home a cross, Iturbe was then benched for the mid-week game and didn’t have much impact after coming on.
CORRECTION: A correction to last week’s stat regarding Peñarol and Nacional, after (re-)crunching the numbers I realised that there was a mistake in my calculations, at the time of writing Peñarol had actually scored 483 goals conceding 359 while Nacional were 481 and 358 respectively. After Nacional’s game on Tuesday they are now 482 and 358.
This week’s stories
Hulk hits 20…finally
A player I’ve admired since I saw him dispatch Arsenal in Estadio do Dragão a couple of years ago is Hulk. Can’t find his way into the Brazil side but propelled Porto to the top of the Liga ZON Sagres with 19 league goals by January. He must have hit some mental obstacle because he just couldn’t find number 20…until Monday night when he stroked home a last-minute penalty to secure victory against União de Leiria. I for one hope he makes the Copa América squad this winter (summer to you northerners).
After their terrible display against Cerro Porteño last month (beaten 5-2) it looked like Colo-Colo would need a miracle to resurrect their season. It has arrived in the form of a wily old Argentinian, Américo Gallego, back in management almost 9 months after leaving Independiente. Since he took over the reins Colo-Colo have won their last five (3 league, 2 Copa Libertadores) with Ezequiel Miralles netting five times as he starts to rediscover last season’s form that saw him score 14 in 19 starts.
In Mexico the team favoured by students in the capital, UNAM Pumas, are the only team still unbeaten after 10 games. Last weekend they beat Morelia 1-0 to move 6 points clear at the top of their liguilla in the Clausura. They were last champions in 2009 and victory this year would be their fourth title this century. They are captained by a Paraguayan, Dario Verón who this blogger bumped into in a shopping centre in Pretoria (felt it was worth a mention).
Bebeto’s baby takes centre stage
The U-17 South American championships have started in Ecuador which act as qualifiers for the U-17 World Cup. Not surprisingly continental heavyweights Brazil and Argentina are the favourites and have started in winning fashion. The interesting part about the Brazil team however is the presence of Matheus Oliveira. The whole world knew about his birth just over 16 years ago, it was celebrated by his father Bebeto in what was arguably the best thing to come out of USA 1994 (arguably Baggio and Stoichkov-lovers!).
The ‘other’ Champions League (Part 1)
We’ve mentioned it before and here we mention again the CONCACAF Champions League which has reached the semi-final stage. The 1st leg’s produced two home wins, Real Salt Lake of the MLS overcame Saprissa 2-0 and Monterrey overcame domestic rivals Cruz Azul 2-1. Real Salt Lake are the first MLS team to get to the last 4 since the competition was revamped in 2008 and look set to reach the final if they can hold off their Costa Rican rivals in early April. The rayados of Monterrey had Neri Cardozo to thank again as he got on the scoresheet in successive rounds but a one-goal lead probably isn’t enough to take to the Mexican capital against the team of have won this competition 5 times previously.
The ‘other’ Champions League (part 2)
In Asia, Iranians Sephapan moved to 2 in 2 with a crushing 5-1 win over Al-Jazira. Koreans, FC Seoul are also with a 100% record and have yet to concede a goal, they thumped Hangzhou Greentown 3-0 on Tuesday. Uzbek side Pakhtakor lost and will have to wait to become outright record-holders in the competition for number of games won (share record with Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma – 26). They are however the only team to appear in every competition in the AFC Champions League era.
Aidy Boothroyd is just a number
I got this brilliant stat via FIFA.com that following Aidy Boothroyd’s sacking by Coventry this week he becomes number 1,031 on Sir Alex Ferguson’s list. To be more precise, 1,031 managers have now parted company with their clubs in English League Football since Alex Ferguson’s appointment as Man Utd boss in November 1986. Maybe he can draw up a list of them during his touchline ban (ooops I did mention it!).
Pigeon passes away
You may remember two weeks ago I brought you the story of the murdered owl in Colombia. This week a pigeon met his maker on the field in Brazil in a game between Ponte Preta and Gremio Prudente. Full marks in this case to the referee who did the decent thing and stopped the game to move the pigeon to the side of the pitch after being hit by the football.
Goal of the week
This should just be Paraguayan Goal of the Week shouldn’t it? Anyway you can’t not enjoy Toro Acuña’s quickly taken free-kick to put Rubio Ñu ahead against table-topping Olimpia. The 39-year-old might not have the fastest legs but his quick-thinking mind set his team on course for victory here.
Minsk Mincers seek victory
In the Belarussian Cup, Belshina Bobruisk who defeated Minsk in the Quarter Finals play the 2nd leg of their Semi Final this Sunday against Neman Grodno. The team lost the first leg 1-0 away and will look to bounce back as they seek glory for the fourth time in the knockout competition, their last victory coming in 2001.
Top Ten Champions League Goalscorers by Country
This occured to me on Tuesday night when no Italians scored for Inter…again. No Italian has scored for Inter this season and it got me thinking which country has contributed the most Champions Leauge goals (exc. Qualifying rounds) this year. Wonder no more here is the Top Ten!
10. Cameroon – 9 goals (2 players)
9. Italy – 10 (5)
8. Portugal -11 (7)
7. England – 13 (7)
6. Holland – 16 (8)
5. Germany – 17 (7)
4. Argentina – 25 (13)
3. Spain – 32 (16)
2. Brazil – 36 (21)
1. France – 38 (20)
Vive le France! While Brazil have had more goalscorers 21, France has two more goals to sit top of the list. Their 38 represents 12.6% of the 302 goals scored. In total 165 players from 42 different nations have got goals in the Champions League – for me the most notable absentee from that list is Greece. No Greek goals this year. An interesting conincidence is that 7 of the top 8 countries in this list are also in the top 8 of the FIFA Rankings. The only team that isn’t…France.
@paraguayralph – follow me for more statistics related to this Top Ten today and during the week random stats and Paraguay and South America football news