Stats & Info: Lionel Messi

Messi, Ronaldo make limited touches count

October, 7, 2012
It was rivalry Sunday in the soccer world.

Barcelona and Real Madrid drew 2-2 as the Spanish La Liga clubs renewed their rivalry Sunday in the Clįsico. The biggest stars on each club, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, each scored two goals.

Messi finished with 68 touches, his fewest in a league match against Real Madrid in the last three years. Messi had his best passing day against Real Madrid in the league over that time span, completing 51 of 56 pass attempts (91.1 percent).

However, his passing had little impact. In seven games against Real Madrid in La Liga and UEFA Champions League the last three seasons this was the only match in which he failed to create a scoring chance.

In the 61st minute Messi scored on a 32-yard free kick. It’s the second-longest league goal by Messi in the last three years and his fifth from a free kick. Messi is one of only three players in La Liga in the last three years to score a goal against Real Madrid from a free kick (Santi Cazorla and Marcos Senna are the others).

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 31 touches were his fewest in a La Liga game since he had 32 against Barcelona on April 21. Ronaldo also completed just five passes into the attacking third.

Ronaldo did score on his only two touches in the Barcelona penalty area and finished without a turnover, the first time he hasn’t turned the ball over against Barcelona in a league game in the last three years.

Short-handed Inter Milan holds on

Inter Milan defeated AC Milan, 1-0 in Italian Serie A derby play.

AC Milan completed a season-high 193 passes into the attacking third of the field, including 119 in the second half.

In contrast, Inter rarely ventured forward after the red card and completed just 11 passes into the attacking third in the second half, the second-fewest in a Serie A game this season.

Huge crowd awaits Cascadia Cup

More than 60,000 fans are expected to witness the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers renew their Cascadia Cup rivalry tonight on ESPN. Here are some stats to watch:

• The Sounders' Eddie Johnson has used his head when it comes to his goal-scoring efforts in 2012.

He has a league-best nine goals on headers. Midfielder Mauro Rosales has made sure Johnson has had plenty of quality crosses and corners to get his head onto this season. Rosales has assisted on six of Johnson’s headed goals, including four assists from open-play crosses and two from corner kicks.

• The Timbers have struggled this season to play the ball from wide positions as they have the second-lowest completion percentage (17.1 percent) on open-play crosses this season. On the other side, the Sounders lead the league in completion percentage on open-play crosses at 26.3 percent and are tied for the most scoring chances created from them with 65.

Zachary Singer and Jason York contributed to this post

Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

1. PENGUINS HANGING IN THERE: For the second straight game, the Pittsburgh Penguins won when facing elimination, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. The two teams have combined for 50 goals in the series, tied for the fourth-most in a NHL playoff series. FROM ELIAS: In each of the first five games of the series the team that scored the first goal lost. It’s only the third series in NHL playoff history to follow that unusual pattern; the others were Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis in 1981 and Dallas vs. San Jose in 2008.

2. YANKEES SPOIL FENWAY PARTY: The Boston Red Sox had a 100-year celebration of Fenway Park but the New York Yankees spoiled the party. Clay Buchholz allowed five HR in a 6-2 loss. FROM ELIAS: Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz have each allowed five HR in a game this season. It's the third time that a pair of pitchers on the same team gave up five plus HR in a game in one season. The other pairs: 2005 Phillies-- Vicente Padilla and Cory Lidle, and the 2009 Red Sox-- Beckett and Buchholz.

3. SPURS BLOW OUT LAKERS AGAIN: Kobe Bryant made his return after missing seven games with a shin injury, but it didn’t matter as the Los Angeles Lakers were blown out again by the San Antonio Spurs. FROM ELIAS: The Spurs are the first team to win two consecutive meetings against the Lakers by 20+ points since the Detroit Pistons in February 2005. That Pistons team reached the NBA Finals and lost to the Spurs.

4. PREDATORS BACK IN SEMIS: The Nashville Predators are the first team to advance to the conference semifinals, beating the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in Game 5 to win the series 4-1. It’s the second straight season that the Predators have advanced to the conference semis. They didn’t win a playoff series in their previous 11 seasons. As for the Red Wings, it’s the first time they were eliminated in the conference quarterfinals since 2006.

5. SOCCER SHOWDOWN: Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in El Clįsico on Saturday, their second and final La Liga meeting of the season. With five games remaining, first-place Real Madrid leads second-place Barcelona by four points. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are tied for the league lead with 41 goals each this season. Both have broken the previous record of 40, set by Ronaldo last season. Barcelona is unbeaten in seven straight games against Real Madrid in all competitions, matching the longest unbeaten streak ever in the series, previously done by Real Madrid from 1932-35. Madrid hasn’t beaten Barcelona since last year’s Copa del Rey final. The match can be seen on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3 at 2 ET.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

1. FLYERS COME BACK: The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a three-goal deficit in the first period to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime. FROM ELIAS: Philadelphia became the first NHL team since 1996 to start the playoffs with a win in which it overcame a three-goal deficit; 16 years ago, the Capitals won 6-4, also at Pittsburgh, after they had trailed 4-1 late in the second period.

2. HELP ME RONDO: FROM ELIAS: Rajon Rondo posted 20 assists, 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Boston Celtics’ overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks. It was the fourth game in his NBA career (two this season, two last season) in which Rondo had a triple-double that featured at least 20 assists. That ties Magic Johnson for the most such games in the history of the NBA.

3. BYNUM CRASHES THE BOARDS: Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 30 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Spurs in San Antonio without Kobe Bryant. He is just the second player in the last 15 seasons to have a 30-rebound game. FROM ELIAS: Bynum became the fifth Lakers player to collect 30 rebounds in a game, joining George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain (who had 16 such games) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The last Lakers player with a 30-board game was Kareem, who had the second of his two 30-rebound games with the Lakers back in 1978.

Justin Verlander
4. VERLANDER FALLS APART LATE: After allowing just one hit and no runs through eight innings, Justin Verlander allowed four runs in the ninth inning in a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the Detroit Tigers first loss of the season. The reigning AL Cy Young and MVP Award winner has allowed just four runs in 16 1/3 innings but is 0-1 this season. FROM ELIAS: Verlander became only the second starting pitcher in major-league history to fail to earn a win in either of his first two starts of a season after having tossed shutout ball over the first eight innings of each game. The only other pitcher to endure such hard luck was Minnesota’s Pete Redfern in 1980.

5. RONALDO HITS 40: Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals in a 4-1 Real Madrid win. He has 40 goals this season, tying his own record for the most goals in a single season in La Liga history. He is one goal ahead of Lionel Messi who has 39.