Is this the worst penalty attempt ever?

When the Panenka penalty is done right, it’s a thing of beauty. A seemingly effortless flick of the boot that floats into the back of the net whilst the keeper dives aside.

When the Panenka penalty is done wrong, it’s also a thing of beauty — but for an entirely different reason.

Behold, in an amateur match between Swords Celtic and Lorcan Celtic, as Swords forward Mark O’Brien gives this bit of skill a whirl to disastrous effect.

With his side already up 4-0, O’Brien walks up to the spot and dinks a ball with about as much force as a kitten sneeze. It one-hops right into the arms of the Lorcan keeper, who remained statuesque in goal.

Of course, now that the clip has hit the internet, O’Brien has opted for some damage control. He took to Twitter to claim his teammate won the penalty on a dive, so O’Brien muffed the penalty on purpose in a show of sportsmanship.

Hmm, not sure we’re convinced.

(h/t Pies)


Goalkeeper converts first-ever penalty for match-winner

Universidad de Chile fans must have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief when Johnny Herrera stepped up to take a penalty kick in a scoreless game against Copa Libertadores opponents Real Garcilas. Why?

A) Herrera has never taken a penalty kick before

B) Herrara is the team’s goalkeeper.

Though most players — let alone goalkeepers — without any penalty experience would shy away from the spot, Herrara stepped up, and, wouldn’t you know it, coolly struck it past his opposite number Diego Carranza.

It was the only goal of the match and sent Universidad de Chile to the top of their group, proving the old adage true yet again: No guts, no glory.

(H/T Pies)


Fair play: Bremen’s Aaron Hunt rejects penalty

In a game where diving to win penalties is as commonplace a practice as it is obnoxious and disgraceful, Werder Bremen’s Aaron Hunt offered a refreshing alternative: telling the truth!

With Bremen up 2-0 over Nurnberg on Saturday, Hunt was awarded a penalty when the referee thought Javier Pinola had tripped the Bremen winger. Pinola turned away steaming, but before any of his teammates could plead their case to the referee, Hunt came clean. After admitting he wasn’t fouled, the official reversed his decision, Hunt got a couple pats on the back, and Bremen, perhaps aided by the good karma, saw out the win.

By the way, what is it with Germans being so nice all the time now? Just a year ago, Miroslav Klose similarly corrected a referee decision and had a Lazio goal called back because he used his hand in the process:


Mourinho defends Chelsea’s gift penalty vs. West Brom


(Photo: Action Images)

West Brom were robbed of their first win at Stamford Bridge in 35 years on a controversial late penalty call Saturday.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Ramires went down in the box after bumping into Baggies defender Steven Reid. There was contact, but quite clearly no foul. It actually seems like Ramires started to fall before making any contact with Reid. Referee Andre Marriner took a few seconds before pointing to the spot, Eden Hazard stepped up, and coolly slotted home to tie the game, 2-2.

A gift, everyone would agree. Except Jose Mourinho, of course.

"Yes, I think it was a penalty. I watched it from different angles. I’m sure it was a penalty," said Mourinho, who on the late goal remained unbeaten at home as Chelsea manager.

Hate him or love him, you’ve got to admire “The Special One” for his guts, to say outrageous things like this. Even better, Mourinho then began complaining about the officials, suggesting that Chelsea were actually the ones wronged!

Mourinho said Marriner had “a very unhappy game” and that “[West Brom’s] second goal was a big mistake by the ref” He claimed Chelsea should have gotten a free kick before the second goal, and that the Blues should never have been down.

Mourinho trying to spin another story? That’s so unlike him!


English sides set PK shootout record by converting first 29 penalties

Taking penalty kicks in a shootout is a stressful enough affair. So imagine taking one after the previous 29 were converted, which had set a new English record in a PK shootout.

Andover Town forward Claudio Herbert was in just that undesirable position, before getting his second PK of the shootout saved.

"I didn’t realize the magnitude, it was a bit of a blur, the keeper pulled off a great save," 20-year-old student Herbert told BBC Sport. "I was just thinking ‘oh no, it’s going to be on TV - I’m going to miss a penalty on TV’."

Herbert became the involuntary footnote after English non-league sides Andover Town and Brockenhurst combined to score on their first 29 kicks in the shootout, which was confirmed by the FA as a new English record and believed to be a world record.

Despite his historic miss, Herbert says he would have no qualms about taking another spot-kick.

"I never thought I’d have to take the 30th penalty in a shootout. I’ve been involved in penalty shootouts before, but nothing like this. There was not so much pressure. I would definitely take another one. I’d never shy away from taking a penalty."

The previous English record was 27 consecutive spot kicks when Leyton Orient and Dagenham & Redbridge faced off in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first-round match in 2011.

H/T 101GG


Pajama party! Pepe Reina takes Balotelli’s shirt to bed

Image courtesy of Reuters

Disturbing news has reached the eyes and ears of the FOX Soccer news room. Wait for it….Pepe Reina is sleeping in Mario Balotelli’s AC Milan jersey.

We have yet to discover whether the article of clothing has been washed (we hope so) but the story has been confirmed by the Liverpool goalkeeper himself. Reina became the first keeper to save a Balotelli spot-kick during Napoli’s 2-1 win at the San Siro last month and then plucked up the courage to ask the Italy striker for his jersey after the game.

Reina said: “After saving Mario’s penalty I couldn’t not ask for his shirt. It was a historic event. He gave me it and I’ve brought it home to create an unusual pair of pajamas. I sleep with his shirt and Napoli shorts.” 

What does Reina’s wife Yolanda Ruiz make of it all? We have yet to find out, but would this sort of thing constitute grounds for divorce? We think so.


Spanish police blasted with calls for robbery after Real Madrid’s scandal win

Real Madrid beat La Liga new boys Elche on Wednesday under plenty of criticism, and by criticism we mean over a hundred outraged Elche fans reported Real to the national police for robbery:

Translation: “We have received >120 mentions of football in the last ten minutes … Remember, we try to help you on SAFETY”

So, were Elche really robbed? You be the judge.

The newly promoted side scored a shock equalizer in the 89th minute to get on the verge of a major upset, but then Real Madrid was saved by the bell — or this case, the whistle of referee César Muñiz — as Madrid’s Pepe was awarded a highly questionable 91st minute penalty (which Ronaldo converted for the match-winner)

Watch as Pepe gets rewarded for literally taking down his opponent:

Sure looks like highway robbery, but to others, the conclusion of the match resembled more a slapstick comedy. Take Barcelona’s Gerard Pique, for example.

That translates into: “Watching a comedy film on Canal+ Liga. Always going well at this time of night!”
Touche, Pique. Touche.

Countering the Barcelona man’s neg, however, Real’s Álvaro Arbeloa stuck with the comedy theme and took a stab at Barca’s tendency for similar theatrics:

Meaning: “Very happy with the 3 points! I’m glad that some change from theater to cinema, that is always good!”

Ahh yes, good ol’ rivalry banter. So, when’s the first Clasico?


Instant redemption: Belgian player misses penalty, then nets golazo

When thinking of good things that come from Belgium, typically foodstuffs come to mind; chocolate, waffles, beer and so on.

After seeing this creative goal, from Hoogstraten midfielder Glenn van der Linden, that list might need to be amended to include golazos.

Van der Linden lined up his penalty against Mouscron-Péruwelz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja, but saw his effort denied.

Fortunately for van der Linden, the ball caromed right back to him, but he appeared to miss on his second effort, sending the ball skyward.

Still thinking on his feet, the man in white wouldn’t be denied and stroked a gorgeous bicycle-kick volley to finally beat the keeper.

While Hoogstraten might win the prize for “Coolest Goal of the Game,” their opponents came away with the real prize: a 2-1 victory.

(h/t Dirty Tackle)


Gladbach’s Dominguez plays handball instead of soccer, gives up two PKs in one minute

Bayern Munich kicked off the Bundesliga season with a comfortable 3-1 win over longtime foes Borussia Moenchengladbach. Though Bayern were practically in control the entire game, they were helped by one of their opponents in a remarkable way.

With the score 2-1 to the home side in the second half, Gladbach’s Alvaro Dominguez had a penalty called against him for a rather obvious handball. What happened next, well, we’ve never seen anything like it.

Thomas Muller, as cool as they come from the spot, had his penalty saved by an outstanding Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but before the latter could even have a chance to get back into his stance, Dominguez incredibly handled the ball once more, leading to a second PK.

Practically begging Bayern to score, this time David Alaba made no mistake, sealing Munich’s season-opening win. Dominguez, meanwhile, maybe he should explore an alternate career in handball?

(Video via FootballDaily1)


Pitch invader takes penalty kick, unfazed Tim Howard saves it

It’s not every day that a fan makes his way onto the field without getting caught by security in just a few seconds, and only the most talented of pitch invaders can manage to get their foot on the ball, or their hands on a player. But a pitch invader actually taking a penalty kick in the middle of a shootout, well, that’s got to be a first.

After last night’s International Champions Cup match between Everton and Juventus went into sudden death penalty kicks, a fan ran onto the pitch just as Juve’s Kwadwo Asamoah was stepping up to his kick and beat him to it. Everton’s Tim Howard was rather unimpressed, nonchalantly catching the ball that was, to be fair, hit right at him.

Sure, it wasn’t the best-taken penalty, but we doubt the fan cared much either way. It was a funny moment, and we can only tip our hat to the fan’s rambunctiousness. As Ron Burgundy would say, “I’m not even mad, that’s impressive!”

Update: We’re not 100% positive on this one, but we just might have a double offender on our hands. Last year, a man clad in the same headgear and jacket as Wednesday’s pitch invader creatively interrupted an interview with golfer Webb Simpson:

The man was then identified as Andrew James Dudley of England, reportedly a deforestation activist who calls himself, get this, “Jungle Bird.” He wasn’t charged.

Whether or not Jungle Bird got off for this as well, or if it is even him, we can’t know for sure. But you decide for yourself.