Moroccan Goalie Celebrates a Bit Early

What appeared to be a timely save for keeper Khalid Askri ended up one of the worst cases of premature celebrating soccer has ever seen.  Maghreb Fez and FAR Rabat, two of Morocco‘s top division teams, were squaring off in a game that I have absolutely never heard of entitled the “Throne Cup” when Askri stopped a penalty kick — or did he?  He certainly thought he had, as he began walking away and kissing the logo on his shirt in celebration.  The ball, however, was not finished rolling.  Check out the video of a Moroccan goalie celebrating a penalty kick save too early, courtesy of SI Hot Clicks:

Worse than English goalie Robert Green’s miscue?  Nah, no way.

SI Hot Clicks 9/10

Soccer Player Gets 27-Game Suspension For Choking Referee During Match

Here at LBS, we often offer you the finest in athletes and managers getting carried away during competition. A manager gets upset, kicks dirt on home plate, says something unfavorable about the umpire’s mother, occasionally spits, and if you are lucky throws a chair. Usually when you look back it’s funny. But sometimes athletes cross the line.

Rangers soccer player Jose Pedroso clearly crossed that line when he earned himself a 27-game suspension for choking referee Marcelo Miranda during a match between Rangers football club and Concepcion in a Chilean league. And in the glorious internet age that we live in, video footage of the incident is, of course, on YouTube. Here’s the video of Jose Pedroso choking referee Marcelo Miranda:

If there is one rule that is universal across all sports, it is don’t touch the ref. I feel silly even writing this considering how obvious it is. 27 games is not long enough to sideline Pedroso, who according to the Associated Press later told Chilean newspaper La Tercera “I’m not the least bit sorry.” Surely any sports fan can, for example, compare this incident to the one that got Ron Artest suspended for 73 games and debate whether fighting a spectator or referee is more disgusting (tough call), but with comments like that the man clearly needs discipline more severe than, in his case, a mere 27 games.

By the way, Rangers lost 3-0, and Miranda did not file charges.

Referee choker gets 27-match ban [FOXSports]
Video Credit: YouTube user [tyman921]

New York Red Bull Lands Thierry Henry

At least New York City landed one of its coveted free agent targets this summer. The New York Red Bulls — who actually play at a new stadium in Harrison, NJ — announced Wednesday that French soccer legend Thierry Henry has agreed to a multi-year contract to come display his skills stateside of the Atlantic. Henry, who is expected to make his debut July 22 in an exhibition match against Premier League club Tottenham, had the following to say in an interview on the Red Bulls website:

“Some people might think I am going to go there for vacation – I do actually go there for vacation – but it won’t be for vacation this time. I’m a competitor and I don’t like to lose.”

There is no doubt that this is a good thing for the Red Bulls and MLS, both of whom will benefit from the publicity and star power that Henry commands. But lets not forget, the once crowned prince of the French national team is now 32 years old and landed in the MLS after being let go from Barcelona for lack of quality performance. So while the hype is now officially on, Red Bull fans better hope that Henry brings a few years of quality soccer rather than just a brief spectacle for the franchise.

Thierry Henry joins New York Red Bulls [FOXSports]

‘Jimmy Jump’ Flattened for Going After World Cup Trophy

Earlier this week, we told you about a guy who rushed the field at a World Cup game and was ushered off without being physically abused. That’s probably because he wasn’t trying to touch the ultimate prize – the tournament trophy. I have no idea what Jaume Marquet Cot’s intentions were this time, but he’s become famous for acting like an idiot at high-profile sporting events.  Sports by Brooks has discovered that he’s the same guy who some know as “Jimmy Jump” — a nickname that stems from his antics at sporting events in the past.  You might remember when he went after Roger Federer during the 2009 French Open and tried draping a flag over him.  Check out the video of Jaume Marquet Cot trying to steal or put a hat on the World Cup trophy:

What a moron this guy is.  How are they even letting him buy tickets to these events?  I know it would be extremely difficult to enforce, but you’d think that since he’s done this time after time they’d find a way to keep him out.  He’s a clown and a menace to society.  If I was at a game and saw him there…I’d probably do nothing.  But I’d certainly hope someone else did.

Video: Dumbass Tries Swiping World Cup Trophy [SPORTS by BROOKS]
Video Credit: YouTube user stylerchris78

Chris Fowler Angers Creationists with World Cup Closing Statement

On Sunday, ESPN completed its lengthy coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. After Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0, ESPN sent things to their on-site location for a wrap-up from host Chris Fowler and analysts Alexi Lalas and Steve McNamanan. Fowler did an excellent job the entire six weeks in South Africa but his final minutes on TV could yield the most controversy. Here’s what Fowler said in his closing statement from South Africa:

“As for the African experience, we’ve all come away changed and moved by our months here in South Africa. Will this World Cup solve all of this country’s problems? Certainly not. But if you listen to the locals here, it has certainly gone a long way creating unity and harmony that this nation with a troubled past has never seen. We invite you to experience it some day. You will not come away from this country without being moved and inspired and changed if you open your heart to it because after all, as human beings, if you go back far enough to our roots, we are all Africans.”

It’s not that I disagree with what Fowler said, it’s that he touched on a highly sensitive subject for Americans. There are many people who believe in creationism rather than evolution, and Fowler may have alienated the former. He could have spoken glowingly about South Africa the way he did and left that final line out. Maybe I’m just seeing things through a sensitive perspective. After all, if this tweet from ESPN PR man Bill Hofheimer is any indication, ESPN had no problem with the remark: “ESPN’s chris fowler, as usual, very eloquent in his closing remarks, thanking entire crew, #RSA South Africa and encapsulating the last 4 wks.” Eloquent, yes. Controversial too.

Andres Iniesta Will be a God in Spain

After going 116 minutes of scoreless soccer, Spain’s Andres Iniesta broke the tie and connected for a goal that made Spain the champions of the 2010 World Cup. Here the Andres Iniesta goal video that won the World Cup for Spain, making him a god in his home country for the rest of his life:

After emerging from Group H to the Knockout Stage, Spain won all four of its games by a 1-0 score. While their wins over Portugal, Paraguay, Germany, and finally the Netherlands all were nail-biters, there is some comfort knowing that the best team won it all when you consider that they didn’t allow a goal for four straight games. Maybe we have to call Iker Casillas the MVP of the tournament for his streak of clean sheets. David Villa has to be up there as well with his five goals too.

Video Credit: YouTube user WorldCupSA2010

FIFA Pressures Mandela to Present Trophy at World Cup Final

With the 2010 World Cup being held in South Africa, it’s an obvious no-brainer that FIFA president Sepp Blatter would salivate over the possibility of closing the first ever World Cup held on the African continent with former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela presenting the champion’s trophy to either Spain or the Netherlands on Sunday. And there is no harm in asking, of course, but reports emerging that Mandela, who will be 92 this week, is under “extreme pressure” from FIFA to present the trophy are a bit unsettling, particularly in light of the passing of Mandela’s great grandaughter, Zenani, following the World Cup opening concert. Mandela’s grandson, Mandala Mandela, has spoken out on the issue:

We’ve come under extreme pressure from FIFA requiring and wishing that my grandfather be at the final today. But I think that decision will solemnly lie with him, how he wakes up today, how he feels, what his medical team says, but as well his family.

My grandfather is 92 years old next week, this is an evening game. He’s expected to hand over the trophy after the game which could be anything from 10:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and it will be quite strenuous on his part.”

Mandela has generally steered clear of the international soccer celebration, and with good reason. The family is in mourning and the man is basically 92 years old. Let it go FIFA. Or here’s a suggestionInvictus star Morgan Freeman will be at the game — maybe FIFA should consider him to present the trophy.

Mandela faces pressure to attend final [AP/ESPN]