Nigerian teams suspended after “scandalous” 79-0 and 67-0 wins

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This has to be one of the most ridiculous stories I’ve ever heard.

In Nigeria, four teams have today been suspended after two playoff matches ended up as 79-0 and 67-0 wins.

I’ll do the math for you on that one, that is 146 goals in just two games…. talk about getting your money’s worth.

But it seems as though it wasn’t just a goal fest. Something was up, you guessed it, with those utterly ridiculous scorelines.

First Plateau United Feeders beat Akurba FC 79-0, then Police Machine FC battered Bubayaro FC 67-0.

Chairman of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Organising Committee, Mike Umeh,

“It is unacceptable – a scandal of huge proportions,” said Umeh, “The teams are suspended indefinitely, pending further sanctions. We will investigate this matter thoroughly and get to the bottom of it.”

So why did this happen? Well, promotion to the Nationwide League Division was at stake folks and when that comes up, it seems people go crazy. Police Machine and Plateau United Feeders were level on points going into their last game of the season. Only goal differential separated them.

Then the craziness occurred, as after half time the Feeders scored 72 times and Police Machine scored 61 times. How that’s possible is beyond me. Is there even enough time to keep going back to the center circle and kicking off for that?

After those 146 goals were smashed home, Plateau moved just above Police Machine on goal difference and were promoted. But didn’t they think something would be up?

Surely they to think that someone, somewhere would raise a red flag about the ridiculous nature of the scores? Obviously not.

The NFF have promised heavy bans, fines and sanctions on the players, coaches and individuals involved. Quite right. There is no place in the beautiful game for obvious acts of match-fixing.

I just would have loved to have seen both games going on and witness how the information was transmitted between the two games.Was their one man with a cell phone at each match shouting out “Hey, they are winning 54-0 now, score another 10!” Or were both games being played on pitches next to each other?

How bad were the other players, did they just stand there? Or was the team made out of guys who had never kicked a ball before? If that wasn’t the case, how much were they paid and what was the huge incentive, no offense to Nigerian soccer, to go to such great lengths to get promoted to the ‘Nationwide League Division?’

Whatever happened, someone could make a movie about this. There is sure to be some incredible wide-ranging and shady back story that is befitting of a Hollywood drama.

My mind is boggling just trying to imagine how so many goals were scored in 90 minutes. Think about it. How did they do that?

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

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Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.