Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal thought he was being clever. In the waning moments of a 6-0 victory over APOEL on Nov. 21, Carvajal decided to hold the ball instead of throwing it back into play. The referee didn’t like this time wasting and showed him a yellow card. It was Carvajal’s fifth yellow of the Champions League campaign, meaning he would be suspended for the Borussia Dortmund match, but he would be available for the knockout rounds, for which Real Madrid had already qualified.
This isn’t exactly a hot take, but damn that Juventus defense can be impressive, even after losing two key figures from last season’s rearguard. Massimiliano Allegri has created a defensive unit that, on its day, can shut down the most potent of offenses. They don’t sit super deep or press super high, but their supreme organization dulls even the sharpest of attacks.
The Bianconeri defense pitched a ninth shutout of the season in a 1-0 blanking of league-leading Napoli on Friday at Stadio San Paolo in Naples, the home side’s first Serie A loss of the season.
The feel-good aura surrounding Newcastle United was evaporating faster than a fart into a Panasonic exhaust fan as they stared a fifth-straight defeat in the face on Tuesday. West Bromwich Albion took a 2-0 lead in the 56th minute of their Premier League match at The Hawthorns, but a spirited fightback earned Newcastle an invaluable point and somewhat arrested the slide on Tyneside.
In the end, the only moment that separated Switzerland and Northern Ireland in their World Cup qualifying playoff was a dubious penalty call awarded to the Swiss in Belfast. Sunday’s return leg at St Jakob-Park in Basel ended in a 0-0 draw with the Irish again looking extremely limited going forward, but Switzerland were entirely wasteful as well, particularly forward Haris Seferovic.
What's that, in the distance? The wind has shifted. Something smells different. There's a barely perceptible hum in the air. Yes, just barely perceptible, but it's there, no doubt about it. We can feel it in our bones. Something is on the horizon, something big. Something beyond our wildest imaginations.
If there’s one competition that can challenge CONCACAF for zaniness, it’s the Europa League. Week after week we tune in because we know something crazy will happen. Thursday was no exception as the referees missed a blatant hand ball on the goal line in the match between Hapoel Be’er Sheva and Steaua Bucharest in Romania.