NRL Opta facts: Storm and Rabbitohs get second chances

By Sports Desk September 19, 2019

Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs will each have a second opportunity to reach the NRL's preliminary finals in this week's semi-finals.

The Storm finished the regular season top of the ladder but were upset at home by Canberra Raiders in last week's qualifying finals.

The Rabbitohs likewise came up short as they were beaten by rivals Sydney Roosters, who advanced to the final four.

Melbourne must overcome Parramatta Eels, who enjoyed an outstanding 58-0 win over Brisbane Broncos in the elimination finals.

Manly Sea Eagles, having come past Cronulla Sharks, are next for the Rabbitohs.

We take a look at the key Opta facts behind the two huge fixtures in the NRL Finals this week.


Friday

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles

- The past six NRL matches between the Rabbitohs and the Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium have seen each team pick up three wins, although the most recent three were all won by South Sydney.

- Manly have conceded 31 penalties in the NRL this season for being offside inside the opposition 10-metre zone, the joint-most of any team (also Newcastle Knights).

- The Rabbitohs' Damien Cook has gained more metres (1,862) scooting out of dummy-half than any other player this term, 320 more than the next best (Cameron Smith – 1,542).


Saturday

Melbourne Storm v Parramatta Eels

- The Storm have won seven of their past nine NRL matches against the Eels (L2), including the most recent three in succession. They have not won more consecutive matches against Parramatta since a four-match span across 2006 and 2007.

- The Eels have made the most offloads (343) of any team in the NRL this year, 125 more than Melbourne (218).

- Storm great Cameron Smith has kicked the most goals (102) of any player in NRL 2019. This has been the first NRL season of his 18-year career in which he has kicked 100 or more goals.

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    Elsewhere, under-pressure Zinedine Zidane takes his Real Madrid side to Galatasaray and Paris Saint-Germain visit Club Brugge.

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    6 - Since losing eight Champions League games in a row between September 2016 and October 2018, Club Brugge are unbeaten in six in the competition (W1 D5 L0).

    5 - PSG last faced Belgian opponents in the Champions League in the 2017-18 group stage, winning 4-0 away and 5-0 at home against Anderlecht.

    Galatasaray v Real Madrid

    1 - Galatasaray's only win in their last 17 European matches against Spanish opposition was their 3-2 win over Real Madrid in the 2012-13 Champions League quarter-final second leg (W1 D4 L12).

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    4 - Olympiacos have lost all four of their European meetings against Bayern Munich, losing twice in the 1980-81 European Cup and twice in the 2015-16 Champions League.

    11 - Bayern Munich are unbeaten in all 11 of their European matches against Greek opponents (W9 D2 L0), keeping clean sheets in their last eight meetings with teams from that nation.

    Tottenham v Red Star Belgrade

    14 - Spurs striker Harry Kane has scored 14 goals in 16 Champions League group stage matches. Since his debut in the competition in September 2016, only Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski (19) have scored more goals in the group stages.

    2 - Red Star Belgrade are looking to win consecutive European Cup/Champions League matches for the first time since March 1992, when they won three in a row as holders of the European Cup.

    Manchester City v Atalanta

    24 - Since his Champions League debut for Manchester City in September 2015, Raheem Sterling has had a hand in 24 goals in the competition (15 goals, 9 assists); five more than any other English player in that time.

    2 - Atalanta are the first Italian side to lose their first two Champions League matches. The last team to lose their opening three in the competition was Otelul Galati of Romania in 2011-12, who lost all six of their group stage games that season.

    Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb

    18 - Shakhtar's run of 18 Champions League games without a clean sheet is the longest current run of any of the 32 teams participating in the 2019-20 competition.

    2 - Dinamo Zagreb's tally of just two shots against Manchester City on matchday two was the fewest by a team in a Champions League group stage game since December 2016, when Sevilla had two against Lyon.

    Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen

    2 - Atletico Madrid have lost just two of their 31 home Champions League matches under Diego Simeone (W23 D6 L2).

    0 - Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz is still looking for his first Champions League win. He has drawn two and lost six of his previous eight matches with Borussia Dortmund and Leverkusen.

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    72 - Lokomotiv's 72-year-old manager Yuri Semin was in charge the last time they faced Juventus in September 1993, losing 1-0 at home in the UEFA Cup.

    33 - Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has scored against 33 different opponents in the Champions League, a joint-record with Raul. He could break that record in this match, with this his first appearance against Lokomotiv Moscow.

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    The Gunners' display was reassuringly typical.

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