FOOTBALL - Ajax striker Danny Hoesen netted for his team in their 2-1 triumph over FC Barcelona. It was his first Champions League goal this season. He had already scored in the Dutch top flight and in the Dutch second tier as he had also represented Ajax’ youth team. He is the first player to score at these three particular levels in the same season.
FOOTBALL - On Tuesday, 26 November, AC Milan became the third team in Champions League history to field a starting line-up not containing any numbers from 1 to 11, following Valencia CF (05 December 2006) and Arsenal (09 December 2009). Milan’s lowest starting number today was 14 (Valter Birsa) and their highest was 45 (Mario Balotelli).
FOOTBALL - FC Barcelona join Arsenal (10 and running) and Real Madrid (16-running) as the only clubs to reach the CL KO stages in 10+ seasons in a row. From the 15 times that FC Barcelona advanced from the (first) group phase, they have done so with at least one matchday to spare on 12 occasions. They secured progress six times on Matchday 4, six times on Matchday 5 and three times on Matchday 6.
FOOTBALL - Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 14th CL goal in 2013, setting a new record for most CL goals in a calendar year. He was tied with Lionel Messi and himself on 13 goals they scored in 2012. He has now scored eight goals after four CL matchdays, equalling Filippo Inzaghi’s record, who had eight goals after four matches in 2002/03.
FOOTBALL - For a professional statistician, the greatest joys lie in charting uncharted territories and the temptation of the seemingly impossible. This week, Real Madrid treated us to both in the Champions League and on Thursday, Tottenham Hotspur will do the same in the Europa League. How is it possible to qualify from the CL/EL group stage after only THREE matches? We will try to explain here.
FOOTBALL - Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his first Champions League hat-trick. Ibrahimovic became the third Swedish player to score at least four goals in one European match, alongside Tore Cervin (4) for Malmö FF on 3 October 1973 (Cup Winners Cup) and Ove Ohlsson (5) for IFK Göteborg) on 23 September 1959 (Champions Cup). Ibrahimovic became the third player to score four Champions League goals in one match for a French side, after Dado Prso for AS Monaco on 5 November 2003 (8-3 against Deportivo) and Bafetimbi Gomis for Olympique Lyon on 7 December 2011 (1-7 against Dinamo Zagreb).
FOOTBALL - Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 57th and 58th goals in
European competition and has overtaken the Portuguese record of 57 by Eusébio. With his second goal, Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Filippo Inzaghi for most goals after three matches of a CL campaign (seven). He has extended his total for CL braces to 16, closing the gap to Lionel Messi’s competition record (17) to one.
FOOTBALL - Lionel Messi set a new all-time Champions League record by scoring his fourth hat-trick, as Barcelona beat Ajax 4-0 on Wednesday. Messi surpassed Mario Gomez and Filippo Inzaghi who have both scored three Champions League hat-tricks.
FOOTBALL - Cristiano Ronaldo set a CL record by scoring his 26th, 27th and 28th career CL goals in away matches, surpassing the mark of 26 by Lionel Messi. It was his second career CL hat-trick after netting three times against Ajax on 3 October 2012. Ronaldo also became the first player to tally a CL hat-trick on Matchday 1 since VfL Wolfsburg’s Grafite in 2009/2010.
FOOTBALL - Bayern München defeated Bayer Leverkusen on the opening day of the 2013/14 Champions League season, thus becoming the first defending champions since AC Milan in 2007 to win their opener. The following five titleholders all started their title defence with a draw: Manchester United in 2008, FC Barcelona in 2009, Internazionale in 2010, FC Barcelona in 2011 and Chelsea in 2012.
FOOTBALL - The Euro Club Index (www.euroclubindex.com) rates all teams in top flight football in Europe and today has proved an invaluable guide to assess the 2013/2014 Champions League group stage draw. It points out the Group of Death, the teams facing strongest/weakest opposition and also the teams that were most fortunate/unfortunate in the draw.
FOOTBALL - The following is a recap of the 2012/2013 Champions League final.