1
Oct

Galatasaray fans interrupt Champions League match with flare storm

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Galatasaray were already down 2-0 to Arsenal when the throng of away fans - clearly uninspired by what they saw - began throwing dozens of flares onto the pitch (WATCH it here), briefly interrupting Wednesday’s match.

During the stoppage, vice-captain Wesley Sneijder went over to the fans to try and calm them down, knowing full well that in this day and age, UEFA are doling out punishment for fan behavior left and right.

Strangely enough, though, it might be Arsenal who get in trouble:

The Turkish fans’ performance didn’t exactly “light a fire” under their team. Galatasaray fell further behind before getting a lone consolation goal on a second-half penalty as Arsenal won 4-1.

Here are some more pictures, courtesy of Reuters:

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1
Oct

Doink! Monaco player, female referee both get balls shot in the face

It’s been a tough couple days for faces in soccer.

On Wednesday, Monaco defender Ricardo Carvalho took one on the chin in his Champions League match against Zenit…

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Ouch!

… and a few days earlier, Argentine referee Salome Di Iorio got it even worse. Watch as she gets her face absolutely walloped by a hard - and probably terrible - cross in a lower league match:

Double ouch!

According to Eurosport, the impact was so bad Di Iorio had to be helped off the pitch and was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

H/T WAATP

1
Oct

Pitch invader scores Ronaldinho’s signature

imageIn what we must consider the golden age of pitch invaders, it is no longer enough to run aimlessly around the field to draw a laugh from the crowd or earn your 10 seconds of fame. There needs to be an actual purpose now.

This summer proved as much, as dozens of daredevil fans started taking selfies with players - to much success, too - an important milestone for pitch invaders all over the world.

Now, one fan in Mexico has taken it to yet another level. In the second half of Queretaro’s match at Atlas, a young man in a Brazil shirt sprinted onto the field with just one goal in mind: get Ronaldinho’s signature.

And sure enough, he did. Wait for the replay at the :45 second mark to see Dinho give the fan his John Hancock:

H/T Bleacher Report

Image provided by Mexsport

30
Sep

Xavi passes Raul for all-time Champions League appearance record

imageXavi Hernandez applauds the fans following his record-setting appearance (Getty Image)

Though he may no longer be a starter for Barcelona, Xavi is still around breaking records.

The 34-year-old midfielder, who’s won the Champions League three times with Barcelona, came on as a second-half substitute in Barca’s 3-2 loss at PSG on Tuesday, marking his 143rd appearance in the Champions League. That broke the tie for the all-time record, which he shared with fellow Spaniard Raul.

Breathing down Xavi’s neck is Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas, who has made 140 appearances to date and is in line for his 141st on Wednesday. Make sure to keep an eye on those two, and the record, as the Champions League continues.

imageXavi in a 2004 Champions League match vs Celtic. (Reuters)

30
Sep

Francesco Totti becomes oldest goalscorer in Champions League era

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Heroes grow old. Legends never die.

Roma’s ageless wonder and captain Francesco Totti etched his name in the record books on Tuesday, scoring the visitors’ equalizing goal to become the oldest goalscorer in Champions League history.

At 38 years and 3 days old, Totti passed Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs (37 and 290 days) for the record with a lovely little chip over Joe Hart.  A spectacular goal from a spectacular player, who proved once more that age is nothing but a number.

Image provided by Reuters

30
Sep

Bayern fans rent out floor in office building to “attend” Champions League match

imageCSKA Moscow played their Champions League match vs. Bayern Munich behind closed doors on Tuesday as part of the sanctions handed down by UEFA for CSKA fans’ racist behavior last season.

However, that did not stop a group of Bayern fans from making the trip to Moscow to watch their boys. A couple incredibly resourceful fan groups rented out an office in a neighboring skyscraper so that around 55 Bayern faithful could still enjoy a nice view of the match:

Now those are real fans!

Tobias Schweinsteiger, a Bayern Munich reserve player and older brother of Bastian also attended, tweeting “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

UPDATE: Following Bayern’s 1-0 victory, German news outlet Sport1 confirmed that the club paid the expenses for the office space.

H/T Abendzeitung

Image provided by Getty

29
Sep

FC Santa Claus promoted to Finnish third division

As the debate over the existence of Santa Claus rages on in kindergartens around the world, one thing we do know for certain: FC Santa Claus is an actual, real football club in Finland. With a very awesome logo, too:

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And wouldn’t you know, Santa just got promoted!

Yes, Christmas has indeed come early for the supporters of this small club inside the Arctic Circle (Lapland, more specifically) after clinching promotion to the Kakkonen division of Finnish football. The decisive goal was scored by Kris Kring… — nah, just kidding — Jaakko Paavilainen in the 94th minute of their match vs ORPa, sending the team’s commentators into a frenzy:

Watch out, Kakkonen squads. Santa Claus really is coming to town!

(H/T Metro)

29
Sep

Christoph Kramer’s yellow card rescinded after opponent admits to slip

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In a sport where diving and playacting is, sadly, very much old hat by now, Paderborn’s Stefan Kutschke provided a breath of fresh air this weekend.

During Saturday’s Bundesliga match vs Borussia Moenchengladbach, Kutschke drew a yellow card on Christoph Kramer after seemingly getting tripped up by the World Cup star on a counter-attack.

Only it wasn’t a foul. Not even close, actually:

To Kutschke’s credit, even though it certainly looks like he was diving here, the Paderborn forward immediately went over to the referee and explained that he “slipped” rather than gotten fouled. As such, the referee wiped the yellow card off the books and restarted play with a drop ball.

Score one for fair play!

H/T WAATP

Image provided by Getty