The Premier League rightly prides itself on being the toughest in the world. It’s physicality is legendary and it’s not for the faint hearted.
Callum McManaman in his first start for Wigan Athletic would certainly have been up for it and the adrenaline would’ve been pumping however there can be no excuse for this challenge which might have ended the career of Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara.
If you’re too squeamish to watch the video here’s the basic description. McManaman launched himself at top speed, studs first and planted his foot squarely on Haidara’s knee.
Incredibly referee Mark Halsey didn’t see a thing as he must have been wearing blinkers. No doubt the Football Association will take a good look at the video of the tackle which gets worse with each viewing.
On the Magpies bench, John Carver assistant to Alan Pardew was so incensed that his verbal volley at Halsey earned him a red card.
Haidara was taken to hospital and the diagnosis isn’t great. “It looks like knee ligaments and bad bruising is the best we can hope for,” said Pardew. “It is not going to be good because the tackle was so bad.”
This isn’t the worst challenge I’ve ever seen, Roy Keane on Alf inge Haaland takes that biscuit but it is right up there.
Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.
Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.
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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.
Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.
The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.
McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.