20 goals in as many appearances have secured a new all-time Italian Serie A record for Gonzalo Higuain. The Napoli talisman’s goal-a-game record is the best ever seen at this stage of an Italian top-flight campaign, eclipsing the tallies of 19 registered by Inter Milan’s Istvan Nyers and Luca Toni of Fiorentina in 1949/50 and 2005/06 respectively. Higuain has already surpassed his own season’s best Serie A tally of 18 on the back of five braces in his last seven league outings, firing Napoli to a run of five straight domestic wins. Maintaining this form has become a necessity, though, because Juventus are on a superb run of their own. I Bianconeri have now racked up ten straight Serie A wins, just two short of the club’s all-time record, and have scored twice or more in each of their last seven outings. Sunday’s 4-0 demolition of Udinese maintained that sequence, with Juve scoring four goals in the first half of a league match for the first time since November 2012.
6 consecutive missed penalties was the French Ligue 1 run that came to a welcome and long-awaited end for Rennes on Saturday. Having not scored from the spot in 17 months, Philippe Montanier's side then proceeded to do it twice in the space of 18 minutes as Troyes were beaten 4-2. Fallou Diagne was the player who succeeded in keeping his cool, slotting away two first-half penalties to turn a 2-0 deficit into a vital win. In doing so, the Senegalese defender became the first Rennes player to score a brace of spot-kicks since Olivier Monterrubio 14 years ago. Diagne also helped inspire Rennes to come from 2-0 down to win a top-flight game for the first time since December 2012, when Troyes were again their victims.
3 goals down was the position from which Orlando Pirates secured an unlikely draw on Saturday with the week’s biggest comeback. The struggling Soweto giants found themselves 3-0 behind to Maritzburg United, the bottom team in South Africa’s PSL, after just 35 minutes, but battled back to claim a point that edges them away from the relegation zone. Maritzburg, meanwhile, were denied just their second win of the season, a result that would have seen them climb off the foot of the PSL table. Yet the outcome was nothing if not predictable, with the basement boys having drawn each of their last four top-flight encounters. At the other end of the table, meanwhile, Mpumalanga Black Aces sit joint-top with record champions Mamelodi Sundowns on the back of an altogether more impressive sequence. The Amazayoni have won all five of their most recent matches, leaving them well placed to challenge for a first-ever top-flight crown.