27
Aug

Cosmin Moti: The Champions League’s newest sensation

Merely an afterthought at the beginning of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League shuffle, Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Steaua Bucuresti wound up turning into a true thriller.

The drama really kicked off when Ludogorets scored just before Spanish referee Alberto Undiano blew for full time, sending the contest into extra-time. With an apparent affinity for heightening drama toward the end of a period, Ludogorets then had their keeper, Vladisov Stoyanov, sent off with a red card.

Out of substitutions and with a penalty shootout looming, the team turned to central defender Cosmin Moti to save the day. And boy, did he:

Moti donned backup keeper Ivan Civorovic’s keeper shirt, but it may as well have been a cape. Not only did Moti step up to take his side’s first kick of the penalty shootout (with his goalie gloves on!), he drilled it past his counterpart.

Then, the new Champions League star went on to save not just one, but two Steaua penalties to seal the win. Moti’s heroics earned lowly Ludogorets their first-ever berth in the Champions League group stage.

Here’s to hoping Moti and his scrappy side keep the hits coming against some other big boys.

27
Aug

Lady luck! Soccer fan mistakenly bets MK Dons 4-0 win vs. United at staggering odds

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How would you like to win £1,250 ($2,071) totally on accident? That sounds about as awesome as it does unlikely … unless you’re one lucky woman in England:

Holly Griffiths, a reported Manchester United fan, redeemed a free bet of £2.50 ($4.14) on Tuesday’s Capital One League Cup tilt between MK Dons and United. Most sane folks expected United, an English juggernaut, to roll past lowly third-tier MK Dons.

That, of course, wasn’t the case. MK Dons went on to win in a stunner, but we assume Griffiths was even more surprised when she went to check her betting account.

She’d accidentally tossed her freebie bet on the massive underdogs to win 4-0 at a whopping 500/1 odds. To put it in perspective, it would be like gambling that Eeyore would win the Kentucky Derby, and hitting.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but this isn’t: Holly Griffiths is the luckiest person in the world.

(h/t Metro)

26
Aug

Hulk scores on scintillating solo run as Zenit reach UCL group stage

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Hulk doesn’t need to smash to be a menace on the field. Sometimes, a little solo run past three hapless defenders will do just fine, as was the case Tuesday against Standard Liege.

The robust Brazilian striker scored two goals to send Zenit into their third straight Champions League group stage. The first was a penalty kick, and the second was, well, just watch:

26
Aug

Real Madrid launch all-black Champions League dragon kit

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Real Madrid finally launched their new third kits on Tuesday and it was well worth the wait, because it has DRAGONS on it. Dragons!

Renowned Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto created the all-black kit, which Real will most likely don for some of their Champions League matches and whenever they feel like intimidating the hell out of their opponents.

If this won’t break all kinds of kit sale records in the Far East market, I don’t know what will. Well played, Real and Adidas, well played.

Okay, now when’s the next season of “Game of Thrones” starting again?

25
Aug

Di Natale scores filthy lob as part of five-goal show in Coppa Italia

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Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale almost retired at the end of last season, which would’ve robbed us of an incredible show in the Coppa Italia on Sunday.

Di Natale scored four of the five goals in Udinese’s 5-1 win over Serie B side Ternana, none better than his fourth, an audacios lob in the 75th minute.

Skip to the 2:30 mark to watch:

H/T Pies

25
Aug

Nigeria gift Germany Under-20 Women’s World Cup with mindless error

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Germany have won the World Cup this summer, the Under-19 European Championships, and now, the Women’s Under-20 World Cup as well.

Lena Petermann did her best Mario Goetze impression and scored the only goal of the final in the 98th minute of extra time to seal the Germans’ third triumph in the span of six weeks — but it could have been very different were it not for a colossal error by their Nigerian opposition.

In the 83rd minute, the Super Eagles thought Asisat Oshoala - voted the tournament’s best player - scored the late winner after her header beat the German goalkeeper, but the goal was correctly ruled out after her overzealous teammate Loveth Ayila thundered the ball across the line needlessly from an offside position.

D’oh!

Image provided by Getty

H/T Pies

25
Aug

La Liga minnows SD Eibar win top-flight debut on wonder goal

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SD Eibar made its La Liga debut this weekend and promptly celebrated their first three points thanks to a 1-0 home win over Real Sociedad. The club from the tiny Basque town of Eibar, which boasts a population of just over 27,000, also made sure the winning goal was a memorable one.

Midfielder Javi Lara buried a beautiful free kick from an impossible angle to etch himself forever in club lore:

The underdog of all underdogs, Eibar is the smallest club to ever to compete in La Liga and had to raise $2.3 million in capital just to keep its place in the league after earning promotion from the Segunda Divison.

Their home ground, Ipurua Stadium, holds just 5,900 spectators (there are plans to raise the capacity to a whopping 6,700). And now they’re playing the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, whose own arenas could hold three Eibars. The entire town. Three times.

We here at the Blog sincerely hope the magical ride continues for as long as possible. What a great story.

Image provided by Getty

GIF via Reddit

25
Aug

Portland Timbers unfurl epic ‘Wizard of Oz’ tifo ahead of Seattle Sounders clash

The Timbers Army is at it again.

As you would expect anytime the Seattle Sounders come to town, the fans in Portland conjured up an epic pre-match tifo to give their rivals a warm welcome to Providence Park for Sunday’s Cascadia Cup match.

This time, they really out-did themselves with a Wizard of Oz-themed tifo. A yellow brick road connected Dorothy holding a can of gasoline on one end, and a burning city of Seattle (appropriately known as the “Emerald City”) on the other. The message “There’s no place like home” hung right above it.

The tifo was absolutely brilliant. Their team? Well, the Sounders left Portland with a convincing 4-2 win over their bitter northwest rivals.

Check the tifo out in action, below:

Image provided by USA Today

25
Aug

Epic fail! Danish forward pulls own version of ‘Junior Malanda’ miss

We’re not sure anything will ever “top” Junior Malanda’s miss of the century in Friday’s Bundesliga opener, but AB Copenhagen’s Nichlas Rohde will come as close as you can possibly get.

The Danish forward managed to hit the simplest of rebounds off the post from just a yard out. Unlike in Malanda’s epic miss, the ball was flat on the ground after the opposing goalkeeper made the initial save - but to give Rohde the teeniest bit of credit, the goalkeeper was still somewhat in the picture, and he did hit the post…

No, you’re right. Still no excuse.

H/T Pies

24
Aug

Black cat invades Camp Nou pitch during Barcelona’s La Liga opener

imageThe Blaugrana will be hoping the furry pitch invader in their La Liga home opener isn’t a sign of things to come this season.

Just as their match against Elche kicked off, a rather adorable black cat ran rampant on the pitch for a good few minutes, sprinting the length of the pitch before it was eventually wrangled by a steward.



If Barcelona has some kind of disastrous or unlucky or ‘cat’-astrophic season, we all know who the Camp Nou faithful will blame.

Image: Josep Lago, Getty Images