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)


All in the family: Kevin Hart takes on Joe Hart in PK shootout

If you think you’ve seen a lot from comedian Kevin Hart recently, it’s because you have. The funnyman is featured in two movies on the silver screen at the moment and scheduled to be in two more in 2014. All the while, hes been making commercials, TV show cameos, touring and seemingly promoting his stuff non-stop.

So it’s impressive that Hart somehow found the time to stop in at Manchester City to meet up with his “cousin” Joe Hart and take part in a friendly penalty shootout. Even better: despite having never played soccer in his entire life, Kevin buried one in the left corner past Joe, who was probably dying with laughter at Kevin’s interesting form.

"Bend it like Beckham!! AHHH!!!"

As far as we’re concerned, you can never have enough Kevin Hart.


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!


Brazil’s Alexandre Pato tries Panenka, fails miserably

There aren’t many players in the world who can pull off a Panenka. Alexandre Pato is not one of those players.

But unfortunately for the 24-year-old Brazilian, he thought it was a good idea to try against Corinthians on Wednesday night, and it costs his side a spot in the Brazilian Cup semifinals.

Gremio goalkeeper Dida saved his former AC Milan teammates’ poor Panenka attempt, and clinched a 3-2 penalty shootout win over Corinthians.

"I expected him to hit it in the middle, I just waited for it," 40-year-old Dida said after the match.

The World Cup veteran Dida had the young striker all figured out — experience trumped trickery. We’re guessing Pato will not get cute on penalty kicks any time in the near future.

Unless of course he gets specific training from Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo:


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?