Lionel Messi scored on Tuesday, Cristiano Ronaldo scored on Wednesday. Your regular UEFA Champions League matchday, then. But they weren’t the biggest story — say hello to Sheriff Tiraspol for that, world. The champions of Moldova beat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, while across the border, Benfica swatted aside Barcelona. Meanwhile, PSG beat Manchester City and Manchester United beat Villarreal as those two got on the scoresheet, Juventus beat Chelsea, and Liverpool smashed Porto. Oh and Atletico Madrid narrowly squeezed past 10-man AC Milan.
Quite the fun couple of days then, and By The Numbers is here to bring you the best stats from across the competition.
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This is only the second time in a European campaign (in their entire history) that Barcelona have lost their first two matches. The first was in 1972-73 in a UEFA Cup first round tie with FC Porto (they were, of course, eliminated).
What’s even more damning? They are the only side in the CL yet to have a shot on target this season.
Sheriff Tiraspol are the first team since Leicester City in 2016/17 to win their first two games in the CL. They are also only the fourth team to win their first away match against Real Madrid in the European Cup/CL after Juventus in 1962, Arsenal in 2006 & Liverpool in 2009.
Real may have lost but Karim Benzema’s lone goal saw him break a tie with Raul for 4th most goals in UCL history. He now has 72 goals. The three above him are – Cristiano Ronaldo (136), Lionel Messi (121), and Robert Lewandowski (77).
Ajax’s Sebastien Haller has now scored five goals in the UCL; the most ever by a player in his first two appearances in the competition.
As per Opta, Chelsea had 16 attempts at goal against Juventus, the most they’ve had in a UCL away game without scoring since they started recording this data in 2003-04.
Liverpool remain unbeaten against FC Porto in their nine meetings in all competitions (W6 D3); in the club’s history, only against Scunthorpe United and Walsall have they played more often without ever losing (11 each).
Only two people have scored in as many as 17 different CL campaigns – Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi, both of whom scored their first goals of a 17th campaign on Tuesday.
Robert Lewandowski is the first player in UCL history to end on the winning side in 18 consecutive appearances.
Mohamed Salah has become only the third African player to score 30 or more goals in the UCL, after Didier Drogba (44) and Samuel Eto’o (30).
Another one from Opta — Federico Chiesa’s game winner for Juventus, which came just 10 seconds into the second half against Chelsea, is the earliest second half goal recorded in the UCL since 2003-04.
Luis Suárez’s penalty at 90’+7 against AC Milan is the latest game-winning goal scored in regulation time in UCL history. It’s also the first time in 2409 minutes (across 25 games) that Suarez has scored an away goal in the UCL. The last time he had scored an away UCL goal was also on Italian soil — against Roma in September 2015.
Lewandowski has scored 119 goals in his last 100 matches for Bayern Munich. Let those numbers just sink in for a moment. Once it has, how about this — he also has six more goals than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues in all competitions in 2021 (41).
MESSI RONALDO WATCH
The two of them did very little all game (in their respective games), but came up with the goods when it really mattered. As is their wont.
No player has scored more 90th minute winning goals in UCL history than Ronaldo (3, level with Sergio Aguero).
No player has scored more UCL goals against sides managed by Pep Guardiola (7 – two vs. Bayern Munich, five against Man City) or scored more UCL goals FOR a side managed by Guardiola (43; next closest, Thomas Muller, 20) than Messi.
Ronaldo now has 12 career goals in the 90th minute or later in the Champions League (including extra time), double any other player in the competition’s history. Messi (of course) has the next most with 6.
Messi has scored 27 goals in 35 appearances against English teams in the UEFA Champions League; 15 more than any other player in the competition (Ronaldo, the next closest, has 12).
At 36 years and 236 days old, Ronaldo is the 3rd-oldest player with a game-winning goal in UCL history. (After Leonardo and Ryan Giggs)
This was Ronaldo’s 41st career game-winner in the UCL, the most in competition history. Messi (who else) has the next most with 38.
Ronaldo made his 178th UEFA Champions League appearance, overtaking Iker Casillas as the player with the most appearances in the competition’s history.
(Stats courtesy ESPN’s Stats & Information Group)