Individually, you could probably argue that Robbie Keane was fouled in stoppage time Thursday, as Columbus’ one-goal lead in Southern California evaporated behind two late spot shots from the Galaxy’s Irish international striker. The Galaxy won, 2-1.
But in all honesty, most referees are not going to make that call. Not seven minutes after awarding an equalizing penalty kick. Generally speaking, the standard for what constitutes a penalty kick is elevated for a team once the first one is whistled.
So when referee Sorin Stoica pointed to the spot for Los Angeles in the 85th minute, you might have felt a little badly for Columbus. But Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum did trip Jose Villarreal, so the call was correct.
But the “foul” that felled Keane two minutes into stoppage time? No … the Galaxy were absolutely handed a lifeline on that one.
As he waited and watched for Colin Clark’s cross, Keane crumbled when he felt contact from Crew defender Bernardo Anor. “If someone runs into the back of you, the fact is you’re going to fall over,” he said afterward.
Even if you disagree that the standard should rise a bit after a referee awards one penalty kick – and it’s a good argument to make, that a foul is a foul is a foul … I’m just saying that generally speaking, that’s what happens – the second PK should never have been blown. Stoica simply has to be better there. He must recognize the difference between a legitimate foul that prevents a goal scoring opportunity and a wise old hand gambling that a pretty lousy bit of embellishment will fool the referee. In this case, it certainly did.
“He’s smart,” Anor said, referring to Keane. “He was waiting for a tiny touch for him to go down. He was fortunate to get the call. It’s the referee’s call, and we can do nothing about that.”
Here are the two instances, both toward the end of the highlight pack:
Europa League goes into its second day of group play with the onus on the biggest club in the tournament to pick up a win.
Don’t believe us? Ask Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.
“To be honest, I think we have to win,” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference. “If we don’t win, I would say we’d have to win all the last four matches, which is difficult, so I think it is very important that we win this game.”
[ MORE: Wenger excited at Arsenal’s chances ]
United fell 1-0 at Feyenoord to open the group stage, and now hosts Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk at 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday. He knows its the equivalent of a massive Cup match for the visitors.
“The Europa League is a competition Man United isn’t normally in, so when these teams have a giant like Man United in front of them, it’s a huge moment for them and they come to the game with incredible motivation.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start for United, as there’s a chance that Anthony Martial will rejoin the side. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is out, and Wayne Rooney (back) and Luke Shaw (illness) may not play.
The other Premier League side in play is Southampton, as the Saints take a long flight to Israel for a 3:05 p.m. ET kickoff against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
[ MORE: Why is Walcott on fire? | Wenger on MiB pod ]
Saints handled Sparta Prague at home, and now face the Camels, who went to Inter Milan and won. Southampton is without Charlie Austin, Jose Fonte, Ryan Bertrand, and Steven Davis.
Should be a very decent match from Turner Stadium in Be’er Sheva.
all times ET
Mainz at Gabala — 11 a.m.
Young Boys at Astana — 11 a.m.
Osmanlispor at Zurich — 1 p.m.
Red Bull Salzburg at Schalke — 1 p.m.
PAOK at Liberec — 1 p.m.
Qarabag at Fiorentina — 1 p.m.
Villarreal at Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m.
Nice at Krasnodar — 1 p.m.
Standard Liege at Ajax — 1 p.m.
Braga at Shakhtar Donetsk — 1 p.m.
Panathinaikos at Celta Vigo — 1 p.m.
Inter Milan at Sparta Prague — 1 p.m.
Konyaspor at Gent — 1 p.m.
Sassuolo at Genk — 3:05 p.m.
Zorya at Manchester United — 3:05 p.m.
Anderlecht at Saint-Etienne — 3:05 p.m.
Apoel Nicosia at Olympiacos — 3:05 p.m.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv at Dundalk — 3:05 p.m.
Feyenoord at Fenerbahce — 3:05 p.m.
Rapid Wien at Athletic Bilbao — 3:05 p.m.
Viktoria Plzen at Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m.
AZ Alkmaar at Zenit Saint-Petersburg — 3:05 p.m.
Astra Giurgiu at AS Roma — 3:05 p.m.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is growing in confidence when it comes to his Gunners’ chances in England and Europe, and it’s not hard to see why.
Four days after Arsenal battered Chelsea 3-0 in Premier League action, the Gunners went out and handled FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League.
[ MORE: Why is Walcott on fire? | Wenger on MiB pod ]
Theo Walcott scored both goals in the 2-0 win, and there could’ve been so many more. Arsenal was fast, deliberate, creative, and dangerous. The finishing was not ideal, but the promise was massive.
Perhaps more important, the Gunners posted a third-straight clean sheet and have allowed just four goals in eight matches since the 4-3 loss to Liverpool that opened the PL season.
And Wenger acknowledges that his side can do big things, provided it doesn’t get too full of itself after solid performances. From Arsenal.com:
“It looks like the team has interesting potential. We have to be ambitious and, as you know, keep our feet on the ground to continue to develop. We know exactly how we want to play football and we have to continue to stick to that and get better at it. That demands big focus and some leadership inside the squad. It also requires humility.”
Arsenal has a very winnable run in the Premier League, and could be right there with Manchester City by the end of October. And with a winnable UCL group, who knows what the Gunners could do with a decent knockout round draw?
Bayern Munich sits second in Group D of this season’s UEFA Champions League after losing its toughest match of the bunch: a trip to the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico Madrid won 1-0 when Antoine Griezmann linked up with Yannick Carrasco for a first half goal and Diego Simeone’s stubborn defense lived up to its reputation in blanking the Bavarians.
[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]
Manager Carlo Ancelotti has been frustrated by Simeone in the past, perhaps most notably in his brief stint at Real Madrid. But the Bayern boss says the loss was down to speed.
“We tried to get back into the game but we played too slowly, which is why we did not have many chances to equalize,” Ancelotti said. “It’s never nice to lose.”
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer also acknowledged a lack of speed in a way, pointing at urgency when he said, “Atlético showed a killer instinct tonight and we didn’t.”
Bayern hosts PSV Eindhoven in its next UCL match on Oct. 19.
What a match in Glasgow.
The UEFA Champions League group stage returned to Celtic Park on Wednesday, where the hosts thrilled their crowd by taking a trio of leads before settling for a 3-3 draw with mighty Manchester City.
[ MORE: JPW on Walcott’s Arsenal heroics ]
The draw is the first competitive game City hasn’t won under Pep Guardiola, but the manager didn’t feel much like complaining after his team rallied.
From the BBC:
Guardiola: “It was difficult for us. I’m happy with the reaction from the players, it’s not easy to score three goals away.
“I don’t know how many the chances they had after the third goal. We should have won it.”
As for Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, he was tickled. After all, Celtic had fallen 7-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou during their first outing.
From the BBC:
Rodgers: “We were brilliant, the pressing and the energy. Every time we went forward we looked like we could score.
“Apart from the Barcelona game these players have been operating at a high level this season. Now, to do it against that team, it was a magnificent performance.”
Celtic Park was loud on Wednesday, and both sides gave the crowd plenty of oohs and aahs. It’s hard to imagine Celtic could do the same again, and City did give away a pair of goals (one own goal from Raheem Sterling, one gaffe from Aleksandar Kolarov).
But for one afternoon, who cares about anything other than an entertaining 90 minutes?