Archive | April, 2011

Owl Punter Strikes Again

13 Apr

Luis Moreno has struck again, and this time he chose an opponent. The Panamanian defender currently plying his trade in Columbia with Deportivo Pereira faced widespread condemnation back in February after fatally booting an injured owl off the field of play. The mascot of their opponents and hated rivals Junior Barranquilla, the owl had landed on the field and was struck by a pass. Lying there stunned, Moreno arrived and promptly kicked it off the field, leading to its death later that day. Video here (PETA people beware). He was fined and banned two matches.

I guess the whole animal backlash struck a cord with Moreno, so he decided to find a new target which might not garner as much rebuke, and could at least survive the impact…so how about a human?!

His victim? Andres Ramiro Escobar of Deportivo Cali. Having been body checked to the ground by one defender, Escobar found himself laying atop the ball only to be met by a thunderous swing of Moreno’s foot. A red card was promptly issued yet the culprit seemed surprised by the harsh penalty.

All kidding aside, this man is more an animal than the animal he actually killed. Somebody should tie this guy up and throw him in a cage with a bunch of owls and let them claw and peck away. He makes Nigel de Jong seem like a nice guy you’d let your kids scrimmage with.


Justin Bieber Trains With Barcelona

7 Apr

Looks like the Biebs has some talents apart from moon-walking across the stage and singing about love and courting women at the ripe old age of 17. Ahead of a sold out performance Wednesday evening at the Palau Sant Jordi, the Canadian heart-throb decided against playing in the sandbox, and instead paid a visit to FC Barcelona’s training session.

The Biebster played a short scrimmage with Thiago Alcantara and Benja Martinez against Bojan, Andreu Fontas, and one of the singer’s cronies. Surprisingly, the little guy showed a bit of skill and composure on the ball. Not to mention a handy left foot.

This comes a day after JB spent time in Madrid, joining a scrimmage at a park decked out in his Barcelona kit. Believe it or not, the Madrid locals found very little interest passing him the ball. Whether it was his high-pitched boy-call demanding attention or the fact that he wore the enemy’s jersey is up for debate.

Following the scrimmage, Biebs and Bojan skipped home together and made a lego fort.

Greatest Champions League Goal Ever?

6 Apr

Schalke’s 5-2 destruction of Inter last night was both shocking and riveting. It also, rather unfortunately, overshadowed one of the greatest goals ever scored in the competition. Some might label it indescribable, but dissecting Dejan Stankovic’s volley only adds to its greatness.

For starters, the ball from Cambiasso to Milito is inch perfect and had Manuel Neuer not left his goal to clear the ball, Inter would have had a breakaway and probable goal. So don’t blame the Schalke keeper. Like Zidane in 2002 (now the second best goal in Champions League history), Stankovic had about five hours to set his feet and wait for the ball to come down, measuring it’s trajectory and drop point. Don’t underestimate how difficult this is – a ball coming at pace over a long distance, setting yourself flat footed unaware of defenders around you, and volleying through the ball on the fly with perfect contact and precision.

Even more staggering is the violent power Stankovic put behind his shot to cover the 50 or so yards to the goal. Flat footed!! Zidane walked into his shot and he only needed to cover a third of the distance.

Finally, it is important to look at the trajectory of the shot itself. The perfect shot takes an angle that prevents a well positioned, fully stretched goalkeeper from making any contact (see Di Maria’s strike from yesterday). Another way to judge perfection is where the ball hits the net. In Di Maria’s case, the ball struck the side netting – always moving away from the keeper to the only open area.

Clearly, Neuer was out of position and the goal was gaping for Stankovic. But that ball could have bounced at the eighteen and rolled in. It could have bounced at the byline and rolled in. Yet it didn’t. The ball landed in the exact position where the net meets the ground, bouncing up off the bar.

There is always room for debate, but I can see little to argue why this goal should not top the list.

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