U-20 Mexico/Northern Ireland match ends in violent brawl

A tournament match-up between Mexico and Northern Ireland Under-20s turned very, very ugly on Wednesday.

The teams were facing off in Northern Ireland in the Milk Cup, an annual week-long international youth tournament, when the game devolved into full-team brawls. Twice.

The fighting started in the 57th minute, and deteriorated into violence with three players getting red cards.

The brawling started again with three or four minutes left on the clock and resulted in one Mexican player aiming a kick at the head of a Northern Ireland player.

The referee opted to blow the final whistle when order was finally restored.

In total, three Mexican players and one from Northern Ireland were sent-off for fighting during the match and all four were later suspended by the tournament organizers.

On Thursday, Mexican FA issued an apology for the team’s behavior, while Northern Ireland team manager Stephen Craigan said Mexico shouldn’t be invited back to the tournament. He’s got a point:

"It was not nice. There were young kids here from around the world. They were here to watch a football match, they do not expect to see that. Mexico did it last year, they had a man sent-off for punching. They have a history of it. I have to be careful what I say, but I would like to think Mexico will not be back at the Milk Cup."

Northern Ireland came out of the melee with a 2-1 win, and will win the tournament if they beat their final opponent, Canada.

(h/t BBC Sport)


Young player takes one of the worst cheap shots ever

(WARNING: The video title contains coarse language).

There are plenty of cheap shots in sports, but this one just might take the cake. The phrase “kicking him while he’s down” is embodied in one play:

There’s not much that we know about this video except that the offending player should be banned from organized sport for life. Inexcusable!

(H/T Mandatory.com)


Kung-fu kick halts match in Paraguay

A player in Paraguay responded to a series of red cards for his teammates by kung-fu kicking the referee straight in the face!

In a regional league match against Coronel Romero, Porvenir player Aldo Olmedo was rightly sent off for an atrocious tackle in the 71st minute. The referee was then angrily approached by two Porvenir players who somehow thought Olmedo’s tackle was defensible. Bumping into the ref  earned both players straight red cards as well (again, pretty straightforward).

Suddenly down to eight men, the rest of the team promptly converged on the official, with one (No. 11 shirt) going so far as to unleashing a textbook kung-fu side kick right into the referee’s grill. At this point, the police quickly entered the fray to prevent any further fighting, and the match was halted with Coronel Romero up 2-0 (though Porvenir probably didn’t have enough players left to continue anyway).


Laurent Koscielny gets kicked in face, has to leave match

As if Arsenal didn’t have enough personnel problems, center back Laurent Koscielny was kicked in the face by Fenerbahce’s Pierre Webo in the Gunners’ dominant 3-0 away win in Istanbul.

The foul was certainly not Webo’s intention, but the high boot caught Koscielny square in the face, opening up a ghastly cut over his right eye. While Webo received a yellow card, the bloodied defender was forced to leave the match and headed to the hospital. Apparently, it was pretty bad:

According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal’s physiotherapist Colin Lewin also later told TV it was the worst cut he had ever seen.

Here’s to wishing Koscielny a speedy recovery. Arsenal sure need him. They’ve already lost Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for lengthy injury spells, and the season has only just begun.


Mascherano gets red card for kicking medic, offers apology

Javier “hot head” Mascherano is at it again. The Argentine midfielder found a pretty creative way to get sent off in their World Cup Qualifying match against Ecuador.

After going down with an injury, Mascherano was being stretchered off the field by a cart. But the midfielder wouldn’t let that stop him from causing a scene.

As the cart is driving off the pitch, Mascherano is splashed with water and it seemed to infuriate him. So, his next move was to give the medic driving him a kick in the back — logical.

This is certainly one of the most creative red cards in recent memory. After the match, the Barcelona midfielder apologized for kicking the driver of the stretcher buggy and offered this explanation for his actions:

“I feel ashamed. I don’t like to generate controversy. And I am big enough to admit my mistakes. This embarrasses me. Saddens me.”

Mascherano added: “The stretcher buggy was going too fast and I was about to fall. I warned him (the driver) and he ignored me, but what I did was not justified.”

Thanks for keeping us entertained, Javier. Watch Mascherano’s post-match interview in Spanish below: