Hail. Sleet. Orange balls. Orange paint. All to no avail.
In a scene reminiscent of the famous “Snow Bowl” World Cup qualifer between the USA and Costa Rica earlier this year, UEFA was forced to abandon Tuesday’s Champions League match between Galatasaray and Juventus when hail and heavy snow forced the teams off the field.
Fans of the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles are allowed to jeer referee Pedro Proenca’s decision. This never would have happened in the NFL, right?
The game will now be played early Wednesday morning (live on FOXSoccer2GO at 8 am ET) after a severe hailstorm interrupted the winner-takes-all encounter in Istanbul. A statement published on the official UEFA Champions League Twitter account read:
"The #UCL fixture between @GalatasaraySK & @juventusfc has been abandoned after a snow storm caused the pitch to become unplayable. According to article 11.04 of the competition regulations, the remaining match time must be played either tomorrow or on a reserve date or other date set by the UEFA administration. A further UEFA update confirmed the fixture would resume on Wednesday afternoon at 1300CET (1200GMT)."
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague)
Check out this amazing time-lapse video of the events as they unfolded, and have a nice cup of cocoa.
The Kuwaiti Premier League is no place for bullies.
The violent scene from Al-Arabi against Al Nasar, where a group of enraged Al Nasar players took special exception to a penalty being called, can attest to that.
In an effort to presumably change the referee’s mind, Al Nasar players crowd around the official in a furor. It should be noted that we have no recollection of this type of persuasion ever being effective, but let’s continue.
To his credit, the ref does what he can to pacify the situation before finally snapping. He reels off what appears to be a left-handed jab that grazes No. 11 of Al Nasar. The player, probably acting on soccer instinct, falls to the ground like Mike Tyson just stuck him with a haymaker.
As tensions continue to escalate, No. 11 makes a miraculous recovery and resumes confronting the ref, who throws a kick quick at the player before remembering he literally holds a trump card for this situation.
The referee begins doling out red cards like he’s playing blackjack, managing to even send a Sheikh to the stands before it’s all said and done.
Finally, in the ultimate display of sportsmanship, Al Nasar’s No. 9 drills the ball at the referee following Al-Arabi’s successful penalty attempt.
No. 9 was shown red, but escaped any physical punishment.
Being forced to strip off your shirt isn’t exactly the ideal scenario for one of your first days at work. But that’s precisely what happened to Bulgarian club Levski Sofia’s former manager, Ivaylo Petev.
Petev resigned from his post on Wednesday, after angry fans charged Petev at his unveiling for Levski, forcing the new manager to take off two layers of shirts with the Levski brand on them. Fast forward to about the 45-second mark to see the scene unfold.
The reasoning for the fans’ hostile (and ridiculous) actions? According to Reuters, the ultras believed Petev was actually a supporter of bitter rival club CKSA Sofia.
With the coach obviously dismayed, the rabid ultras shouted: “You’re not welcome here. Get up, undress the shirt and go. Levski will not play under you as coach,” per Reuters. They then stripped Petev of his shirts before letting the coach escape.
Never mind that that’s utterly insane, you might be asking where security was during all of this. Nowhere to be found, apparently. But we’re glad Petev got out of there before a potential loss to CSKA Sofia.
(h/t KCKRS and The Associated Press)
Somewhere, Rod Stewart is crying tears of joy.
Scottish champions Celtic will embark on yet another Champions League adventure after beating Shakhter Karagandy 3-2 on aggregate, advancing to the group stage in dramatic fashion.
After heading into Wednesday’s return leg down 2-0 to Shakhter, Celtic came back to equalize the tie on goals by Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras. Still level on aggregate heading into stoppage time, with the global exposure and millions of Euros that the Champions League offers on the line, a nervous home crowd longed for a hero. They got one in the form of James Forrest:
Understandably, Forrest’s stoppage-time goal sent Celtic Park into a frenzy. Manager Neil Lennon, well, he could hardly contain himself either:
It’s drama and scenes like this that truly make soccer the best game in the world. Good luck to Celtic in the group stage. As for Shakhter, well, this one’s for the sheep.
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:
Leading 1-0 over South Korea in a crucial World Cup Qualifier, Iran needed a victory to secure a place in the 2014 World Cup.
In comes Iranian goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi.
Off of a free kick in the 75th minute, Ahmadi made an unbelievable double save that helped preserve the victory and clinch the top spot in Group A, igniting celebrations as the team booked their spot in the World Cup.
Talk about shots on goal.
During an amateur match in Bosnia, 51-year-old keeper Dusko Krtalica played an entire 90 minute match in goal after being hit in the head with a stray 9mm bullet.
While he complained of a headache during the match, it wasn’t until after the 90 minutes that he began to feel numbness across his body and he was taken to a hospital for examination. A bullet was found lodged in his temple - it was removed safely and the keeper was in stable condition.
After a police investigation, it was found out that someone at a nearby wedding fired off a few rounds in celebration. Astonishingly, one of the bullets found it’s way into Krtalica’s skull.
Next time someone questions soccer players’ toughness, feel free to point them to this story.