Shakhter Karagandy’s strange superstition involves sacrificing sheep

August 20th, 2013

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Photo: AP

It’s not unusual for athletes and teams to have pregame rituals. Everything from not washing certain items of clothing to prayer to eating specific meals — the list is endless. Apparently, for Shakhter Karagandy, it includes sacrificing a sheep. And guess what? It’s been working.

The Kazakh champions beat Celtic in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League playoffs tie on Tuesday, and will take the 2-0 advantage back to Scotland for the return leg next week.

The tradition of killing a sheep before the match is a ritual that Shakhter Karagandy has done throughout this year’s Champions League run. Karagandy manager Viktor Kumykov confirmed that the club had slaughtered a sheep a day ahead of the clash against Celtic and explained how the ritual sacrifice was standard practice. According to Pitchside Europe, he said,

"We are just observing a tradition. The guys decided that being in the playoff is a new level and we are not going to violate this tradition."

While fans of the club are thrilled at their success, sheep across Kazakhstan are probably coming up with rituals of their own to stop the team from winning.

Our Crowd Goes Wild crew on FOX Sports 1 ate the story up:

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