Celta Vigo’s Pablo Hernandez scores mind-bending goal vs. Atletico Madrid

Let’s not even try to figure out how Celta Vigo’s Pablo Hernandez put this into the back of the net vs. Atletico Madrid, and instead just enjoy the madness of it. Who even tries that?!

A no-look back-heel volley? There’s no way he ever scores a better goal than that. 

UPDATE: Here’s another angle, and it’s even more incredible.

(H/T @MexicoWorldCup)


Best Goals of the FA Cup Third Round


Ah, the magic of the FA Cup.

The world’s oldest association football competition, traditionally rich with upsets every season, delivered the goods again this weekend. The stunner of the Third Round? Swansea knocked out Premier League champion Man United for their first-ever win at Old Trafford, thanks to Wilfried Bony’s 90th-minute goal:

There were more brilliant moments on Saturday. 

Minnows Rochdale moved into the Fourth Round of the competition for the first time in eleven years after upsetting Leeds United. The League Two minnows held a slim 1-0 lead over Leeds before Ian Henderson sealed the win with this exquisite volley:

Elsewhere, Oliver Norwood scored a perfect free kick to help Championship side Huddersfield Town to a 3-2 win, avoiding a major upset at the hands of non-league Grimsby Town:

And in the big match of the weekend, Arsenal’s Tomas Rosicky stole the ball from Spurs defender Danny Rose at the halfway line and chipped keeper Hugo Lloris masterfully on the ensuing breakaway:


Unruly Dortmund fans delay derby win over Schalke

The highly-anticipated Revierderby between historic rivals Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 was delayed after the away fans set off a series of flares prior to kick-off. Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller ran over to the away section but had little luck calming down his fans, instead getting more flares thrown his way.

Unperturbed on the field, Dortmund took apart Schalke 3-1 to exact sweet revenge for last season, when the Royal Blues pulled the double on Dortmund with two 2-1 victories. This time around, the Bundesliga’s most historic derby underscored Dortmund’s terrific form at the moment and saw them reclaim authority in the region.

Strikes from Patrick Aubameyang, Nuri Sahin and Kuba Blaszczykowski proved the difference for Jurgen Klopp’s men, who didn’t enjoy as much possession as the hosts but were more clinical in front of goal. Sahin’s goal was by far the best of the bunch, as he turned back the clock to his pre-Real Madrid, pre-Liverpool days when he was the Bundesliga’s best player in 2010:

Dortmund kept pace with Bayern Munich, who won at Berlin, while widening the gap on their rivals to 11 points. Schalke fell to sixth place in the standings.

You could see how much the derby spoils meant to the BVB players, as Lewandowski posted this to his Instagram after the match from the dressing room:

One of the lighter moments of the match came on the touchline as Klopp, everyone’s darling, volleyed a ball going out of bounds and inadvertently struck the head of the fourth official:

Video H/T 101GG


Zlatan Ibrahimovic becomes 10th player to score four goals in Champions League match

imageImage courtesy of Getty

If it seems like we’ve been tossing out one Zlatan Ibrahimovic story after another, it’s because we have. It’s not our fault, though. When Zlatan does incredible Zlatan things, we must obey.

On Wednesday, the PSG striker scored not one, not two, not three… but FOUR goals in a Champions League affair against RSC Anderlecht, making him just the tenth player to accomplish that feat in the Champions League era.

Zlatan hit his first three goals in a span of just 19 minutes in the first half, the eighth-quickest hat trick in competition history. None were more Zlatan-esque than the third, a stupendous half-volley from distance that practically broke the sound barrier. We clocked the strike at approximately 72.6 mph, though you could’ve told us it was 150 mph and we would’ve believed it. After that golazo, Anderlecht’s fans stood to applaud Ibrahimovic, knowing full well they wouldn’t get a better reason to do any cheering. Of course, Zlatan applauded right back at them.

In the second half, Zlatan graciously allowed Edinson Cavani to get his name on the score sheet before rounding out his four-pack in the 62nd minute. Sadly, Ibra couldn’t nab a fifth goal, which would have made him only the second player after Lionel Messi to score five in one Champions League match.

Perhaps next time. We can’t wait.


Mario Gotze shines off the bench, leads Bayern comeback

Oh, right. They have him, too.

Mario Gotze played his first full half for Bayern Munich since late August, and the $50 million Dortmund transfer immediately made his presence felt in a big way.

With Bayern surprisingly down 1-0 to Mainz at the half, Pep Guardiola brought on Gotze to stir the pot, and it worked like a charm. Just four minutes into the second half, Gotze set up Arjen Robben to pull Bayern level, before having a hand in Bayern’s next two goals en route to a 4-1 comeback win.

After feeding Robben a sublime through ball for the equalizer, Gotze combined again with Robben just two minutes later to set up Thomas Muller to complete the lighting-quick comeback. For Bayern’s third goal, it was once again Gotze providing the assist, this time to Mario Mandzukic.

And just like that, Gotze has re-introduced himself to those who wondered if the “German Messi” would ever make it back from a string of plaguing injuries. It should make Pep Guardiola’s life a lot easier, after Franck Ribery joined Xherdan Shaqiri on Bayern’s still crowded sick bay (Javi Martinez and Thiago are still not match-fit).

Conversely, it should really, really worry the rest of the competition. With Gotze back finding his form, Bayern once more look even better than before.


Cristiano Ronaldo comes up big…again


Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

Real Madrid haven’t had the start to the La Liga season they were hoping to, especially with their blockbuster summer signing of Gareth Bale. Los Blancos have 19 points and sit behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the league table. Sure, it’s not the worst imaginable start, but considering how talented — and expensive — the side is, much more is expected from the club.

When Madrid took on mid-table Levante on Saturday, things started going south for them again. It took a stunning late comeback to secure a 3-2 win, with a very, very late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo:

This is hardly the first time Ronaldo has saved Madrid from dropping points these season:

We love the drama, but Madridistas around the world are probably yearning for a less heart-stopping action in the next few matches.


Leighton Baines’ 2-for-1 free kick special helps Everton stay undefeated


(Photo: Action Images)

Newsflash: Leighton Baines is quite alright at set pieces.

The diminutive, yet prolific fullback, scored on a pair of second-half free kicks on Saturday to help Everton past West Ham United. Each of Baines’ golazos cancelled out leads by the Hammers, ere Romelu Lukaku produced a late winner for the Toffees. After Liverpool’s loss, Everton are now the only Premier League team to remain unbeaten, and they primarily have Baines to thank.


USA qualifies to 2014 World Cup with win over Mexico


Image: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The chants started even before kickoff. Dos a cero, dos a cero!

Two-nil. Such has been the end result, in favor of the United States, in the past four World Cup qualifiers against Mexico on American soil, Columbus Crew Stadium to be exact. Tuesday’s classic was also played in Columbus. It also ended 2-0.

Landon Donovan provided the preordained second goal after Eddie Johnson’s header made it 1-0 not long after halftime. As fate would have it — or was it just a cruel joke played on El Tri? — not even a late stoppage time penalty to the US could change the outcome. Clint Dempsey missed wide right. Way right. Dos a cero. Par for the course.

That’s when the chants began anew from the cheering sections of the American Outlaws, drowning out the final whistle. The US had triumphed over Mexico again — 7-0-3 all-time at Columbus Crew Stadium — and the real celebration was only just beginning.

The Americans still had to wait another 40 minutes or so before the tickets to Brazil for next summer’s World Cup could officially be booked. Honduras first needed to win or draw over Panama in the late match. A large fraction of the Outlaws — who made up most of the record 9,000 supporters’ group members in attendance — stayed in their seats and watched the match on the big screen.

Panama equalized twice to keep the fans — and the players in the dressing room — glued to the TV until the final whistle, but at last it ended in a 2-2 draw, clinching the Americans’ World Cup berth. Seconds later, the entire squad ran back out to their supporters, donning “Qualified” tees and leading the crowd into a new, even sweeter chant.

We are going, we are going, we are going to Brazil!


Image: Jamie Sabau / Getty Images


Arsenal answer critics with North London derby win


Arsenal, so heavily criticized recently for not spending any money on new players in the transfer window, were facing free-spending Tottenham Hotspur in a momentous early season North London derby on Sunday, and they came out victorious.

Olivier Giroud scored the lone goal of the match for the Gunners, converting off of a nice Theo Walcott cross. With the win, Arsenal have jumped Tottenham and Stoke City for fourth place in the Premier League.

Hear, hear, Arsenal are top four! Still might want to add to the teeny tiny squad depth, though.


Sturridge nets winner as Liverpool beat archrivals Man United


There may be no player more on fire than Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge.

The now 24-year-old striker — he celebrated his birthday today — scored his third straight match-winning goal to send Liverpool past old enemy Manchester United and to the top of the Premier League. It was Liverpool’s third straight 1-0 win to start the season, the first time since 1994 that the Reds have started on nine points.

Sturridge has now scored 11 goals in his last nine appearances in all competitions for Liverpool. Fans may be wondering, is there even a need for Luis Suarez? Or perhaps they’re already dreaming about what could be possible once the Uruguayan returns to link up with the hottest player in the Premier League.