Torino wonderkid, Andrea Belotti scored a 7-minute hat-trick against Palermo last Sunday. Torino were trailing for most of the game, until Belotti scored the equalizer on the 73rd minute. He scored again three minutes later then grabbed his hat-trick on the 81st minute. Norbert Belogh was dealt a red card in the 78th minute as Palermo lost their lead. The win lifted Torino to 9th place in the Seria A league table, as Palermo remain in 18th place, 3-points from the drop.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings have been charged with violent conduct by the FA this week. The Manchester United striker and Bournemouth defender clashed during the 1-1 draw between their sides last Saturday. Mings landed on Zlatan’s head and moments later the Swede caught Mings in the face with his elbow. It was something of a royal rumble, shame the score-line lacked a bit of bite! Mings will serve a five-game ban while Ibrahimovic has accepted a three-match ban for violent conduct and will miss the FA Cup QF against Chelsea on Monday.
Tayfun Korkut has been named as the new Bayern Leverkusen boss after the sacking of Roger Schmidt. Schimdt was given the boot after a 6-2 loss at the hands of Borussia Dortmund, this is Leverkusen’s fourth defeat in six matches. The German side are still in contention of a Champions League spot, they trail Atletico Madrid 4-2 in their Champions League tie.
Kylian Mbappe has scored his 15th goal of the season. Monaco cruised to a 4-0 win over Nantes last Sunday to go three points clear at the top of Ligue 1. The U19 French International scored a brace and looked rather disappointed to be taken off 20 minutes from time.
The Bundesliga was on FIRE last weekend, offering three games with six or more goals!! Dortmund made light work of Bayern Leverkusen with a 6-2 thumping, Hoffenheim beat Ingolstadt 5-2 and Borussia Mochengladbach won 4-2 over Schalke. It was all square last Friday evening, as Augsburg played out a 2-2 draw with title challengers RB Leipzig. Unsurprisingly, Bayern Munich put three past FC Koln as they march towards a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title.
BT Sport has all but ended inclusion. Their new Champions League deal worth 1.2bn will change kick off times, guarantee places for the top four in Europe’s top four leagues and it has cruelly ended the weekly highlights available on free-to-air television on ITV. This is something I myself relied on because I refuse to pay for BT or Sky. Frankly, I would rather go to the pub to converse and have a drink, all the while watching the fitba’. Even if your one of the lucky few whose team makes it to the competition, good luck trying to get to a 6pm kick off when you finish work at 5pm. This plan is made to benefit the elite, not the working-class fan. Frankly, I’m disgusted. We’ve been priced out of stadiums, now soon we shall be priced out of football all together.
Now if you thought Ranieri’s sacking was harsh, look away now! Olympiakos have parted ways with Portugal’s Paulo Bento despite being top of the Greek Super League. Under-20s coach, Vasilis Vouzas will take charge after their third straight league defeat (the last time this happened was 1996). What has football become?
There was a referee scandal in the English Premier League this week, and in the Scottish Premiership (although the later wasn’t reported, nor will it ever be reported). A stag do in Marbella seemed to be the root cause of the English referee scandal. Sun reporter Phil Cadden tweeted early Saturday morning alerting football fans to Anthony Taylors stag in the Greek island. Taylor was the referee for Swansea v Burnley and was criticized far and wide for a somewhat bizarre penalty decision. Richard Keys and Gary Lineker took to Twitter to vent their disappointment and it didn’t end there, even Burnley manager Sean Dyche had something to say about it (tweets below!). Taylor’s pal, Kevin Friend was also under scrutiny following the wrestling match between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings. The incident unraveled as follows: man stamps on man’s head; man elbows man in face; man dives after little/no shove. Who’s to blame? The referee.
Rangers made light work of Hamilton Academicals in their sixth-round Scottish Cup tie with a little help from the ref. There were some rather dreadful and inexcusable decisions made over the 90 minutes. The first was made early in the first half, when Rangers keeper Wes Foderingham handled the ball outside of the penalty area. Even former manager Walter Smith, who was part of the match day commentary team, was of the opinion that the keeper should have been sent off. It was nothing each at this point in the match, and with rangers down to ten men it may have been a different outcome. The second incident came from a controversial penalty decision. Accies disputed the penalty when Rangers John Toral tripped over his own feet but they had no such luck over ruling the decision. Waghorn converted the penalty and Rangers took the lead. The tip of the iceberg though was an incident in the second half. After scoring Rangers second goal Joe Garner should have seen red after he ASSAULTED Dougie Imrie. Referee, John Beaton opted for a yellow card. Garner went on to score a hat-trick and Hamilton lost the game 6-0. A shocking refereeing display, had the game been called correctly it may have been Hamilton playing in a semi-final at Hampden.
Celtic have been handed a semi-final tie against Rangers, while Hibernian have been drawn against Aberdeen. Celtic cruised past St Mirren with a 4-1 win a Parkhead, after a shakey start. The Championship side went ahead in the first half forcing Celtic to turn on the style in the second half, and that they did! Goals from Mikel Lustig, Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths well and truly cancelled out Harry Davis’s opener. A 1-0 win was enough to see Aberdeen through, they knocked out Premiership competition in Partick Thistle. Holders, Hibernian fought off 10-man Ayr United to win 3-1 at Easter Road. The Edinburgh side have set their sights on League promotion back to the top flight, but are also keen to retain the Scottish Cup. Not ready to let it go just yet they put in a wholehearted performance against a tough Ayr side. The win meant Hibs are competing in the SF for the third consecutive year (their fifth SF in six seasons – nae bad!).
A Russian MP has a solution to all our concerns over violence at the 2018 World Cup – turn it into a national sport! Liberal Democrat Igor Lebedev has shared some rules and regulations to construct his idea. So, “Fans arrive, and start picking fights….on each side of 20 people, without arms.” This numpty is a member of the Russian Football Union’s executive committee and defende the clash between Russian and England supporters at last summers Euro’s, insisting the mass brawl was “normal” and that he doesn’t (and I quote) “see anything wrong with the fans fighting.” 2018 is set to be a Royal Rumble paper view event – Zlatan had better come out of retirement, it appears this is his kind of sport!
MLS soccer was back with a bang! (Or a shot ton of paint, would be more accurate) It was tifo’s galore in Portland as they hosted Minnesota United. They’re colourful, exhuberant display inspired a 5-1 home victory and the Timbers Army have found a whole new fan base of their own. Atlanta United made a huge statement in their MLS debut with a 55,297-sell-out attendance but just fell short of a victory following a 2-1 defeat at the hands of New York Red Bulls. The first goal in Atlanta United’s history was scored by Argentinian Yamil Asad. Orlando City began their league campaign with a clean-sheet and a win in their new stadium. 25,527 fans came out to cheer the lions as they enjoyed a 1-0 win over expansion rivals New York City FC. Cyle Larin will be remembered as the man who scored the first goal in Orlando’s new home. What a way to break in the new accommodation, best house warming EVER!!
Tweet of the week goes to Bolton Wanders who responded positively I the face of homophobic bile drudged up by Manchester united supporters. On Tuesday afternoon Manchester United announced the news that they would be partnering with LGBT equality charity, Stonewall UK. Some reds fans weren’t too impressed and took to twitter to vent their idiocrasy. One such “fan” under the Twitter handle @Fortunefilmzng tweeted “@ManUtd @stonewalluk I’d rather support Bolton Wanderers than a club that endorses the immortality without considering the fans”. Bolton Wanderers rightly responded with “We’d rather you didn’t. TeamStonewall”, and mic drop! Fair play to both Manchester United, for being the first British team to partner with an LGBT charity, and Bolton Wanderers for standing up to bigotry.
Xabi Alonso has confirmed he will retire when his contract expires this summer. The Spaniard took to Twitter to announce the news, alongside a picture of him waving goodbye he wrote: Lived it. Loved it. Farewell beautiful game.” Throughout his career, Alonso won a World Cup title, two European Championships, two Champions League trophies, two Bundesliga titles, one La Liga title, one FA Cup, two Copa del Rey and one German Cup. A class act, thank you Xavi.
ONES TO WATCH
7-minute hat-trick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bf4EV-5KPc
Phil Cadden tweet: https://twitter.com/pjcadden/status/837950037762142208
Gary Lineker tweet: https://twitter.com/GaryLineker/status/838060266726260736
Richard Keys tweet: https://twitter.com/richardajkeys/status/838020566552563712
BBC piece on ref scandal: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39173379
Celtic 4 – 1 St Mirren: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39093857
Aberdeen 1 – 0 Partick Thistle: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39175372
Hibernian 3 – 1 Ayr United: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39170168
Rangers 6 – 0 Hamilton: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39086738
Portland tifo: https://twitter.com/MLS/status/837861411980095488
Atlanta United FC: https://twitter.com/ATLUTD/status/838602687067324417
Orlando City, ‘a gift from the gods’ tifo: https://twitter.com/OrlandoCitySC/status/838834963654979584
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Team Stonewall: https://twitter.com/OfficialBWFC/status/839170870480351242
Man Utd partnership: https://twitter.com/ManUtd/status/839143685728129026
Top 10 goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI7ECDeG0Yk