Betis defender makes pair of costly mistakes, quits before halftime

imageImage: Sergio Barrenechea/EPA

Sometimes, it just all becomes too much to take. For Real Betis defender Paulão, this was one of those times.

The Brazilian center back asked to be taken off the pitch barely a half hour into Betis’ match against Rayo Vallecano after he made two disastrous mistakes that both led to goals, and which all but crushed his team’s final hopes of staving off relegation. (Betis went on to lose to Rayo by that very two-goal margin, and with the club ten points from safety and just four games remaining, their fate is all but mathematically sealed.)

Paulão set up the first goal of the game in the 14th minute with an astoundingly weak back-pass to his goalkeeper, which Rayo’s Ruben Rochina easily intercepted and slotted home. Ouch! Thirteen minutes later, Paulão scored an own goal when his sliding clearance attempt went awry. Double ouch.

His two mistakes were so bad, even Rayo captain Roberto Trashorras went over to help Paulão off the ground and offer his condolences. But in spite of everyone’s pity and support, the imposing defender had reached his breaking point and wished to be substituted right then and there. His manager obliged, and Paulão spent the rest of the afternoon in tears on the end of the bench. Poor fella.

H/T The Guardian


West Ham offer VIP package to young crying fan

Watching your team lose 5-0 is always tough to take, but one young West Ham fan took their FA cup loss to Nottingham Forest particularly hard.


This unidentified boy was caught on camera weeping during the match. Now, West Ham is on the hunt to find the child and give him the experience of a lifetime.

In a statement on the club’s website, they have offered him and his family a chance to watch an upcoming match at the Boleyn Ground from the Directors’ Box. Not a bad offer.

The effort to identify the boy and give him a VIP experience has spread, and he’ll likely come forward soon. Let’s just hope he won’t be spotted bawling in the Directors’ Box, too.



Say hello to Nurnberg, the unluckiest team in the world

image"Why?! Why, coach, why??"

A German proverb, well-known around soccer circles, goes, “When you don’t have any luck, you get some bad luck, too.”

This defeatist adage could certainly be used to describe 1. FC Nurnberg’s season so far in the Bundesliga. “Der Klub” has not registered a single win in the first 16 games of the season. No wins in 16 games; that’s never happened in the league’s 50-year existence. At a professional level, you almost have to try to go that long without a win.

Even when Nurnberg have played well — incredibly, they’ve drawn ten times so far while staying out of last place — they find new ways to throw away a win every weekend. It doesn’t help that Nurnberg also lead the league in shots against the post, with 14.

But this last Saturday, even the most cynical of supporters would have thought the streak would finally be snapped. Dominating most of the match, Nurnberg were up 3-0 at halftime and 3-1 in the 87th minute. They looked sure to get it done against Hannover.

It was all downhill from there.

In a bizarre sequence (7:40 in the video) with three minutes to go, Nurnberg missed the clinching goal by inches and Hannover profited from a missed call by the linesman to reduce the deficit to 3-2. Hannover’s Marcelo stumbled and almost nicked the ball into his own net, but only hit the post. Hannover’s Mame Diouf then scored on the following counterattack, though he was clearly offside by several steps. Nurnberg were incensed at the linesman, but Hannover got back in the game. Naturally, deep into stoppage time, Diouf scored another to grab an unlikely draw and send Nurnberg into utter shock and disbelief. Another win gone begging.

There’s bad luck, and then there’s Nurnberg’s luck.

Watch Nurnberg’s fate unfold below (second half starts at the 5-minute mark)


Shakhter Karagandy’s strange superstition involves sacrificing sheep


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:


Shakira sighting at Confed Cup thanks to Pique red card


Stating the obvious, absolutely nothing went right for Spain in their 3-0 loss to hosts Brazil in the Confederation Cup final. Spain not only gave up three unanswered, but also missed a penalty kick and received a red card.

The silver lining? Shakira got some face time as her significant other Gerard Pique was walking off the pitch for his rough foul on Neymar. Clearly, the pop star, who shares a child with the Barcelona star, wasn’t very happy.


Here’s what former England international Gary Lineker had to say about it:


Neymar sheds tears at final game with Santos

Less than 24 hours after Neymar revealed he’ll be leaving Santos for Barcelona this summer, he suited up against Flamengo for his final match with the club.

It was obviously a tough decision for the Brazilian starlet to leave his home country and the club that he’s been playing with ever since he was inducted into their youth academy. His emotions got the best of him prior to the match, and he couldn’t hold back the tears.

The 21-year-old will be joining the Catalans after this summer’s Confederations Cup, and is set to sign the five-year contract on Monday.