FIFA referees chief Jim Boyce is calling Manuel Pellegrini’s criticism of referee Jonas Eriksson “absolute nonsense” after the Manchester City manager unleashed a string of verbal barbs at the official following City’s 2-0 home defeat against FC Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 tie.
Pellegrini was critical of Eriksson’s nationality and bias after the Swede sent Martin Demichelis off for a “last man back” tackle on Lionel Messi that earned Barca a penalty kick. City back Vincent Kompany added “There was a lot of soft fouls. In the Premier League, they would have not been given.”
But it wasn’t the Premier League, and Boyce was furious at Pellegrini’s comments about an official slated to referee matches at the World Cup this summer.
“It is absolute nonsense to say a referee should not be chosen for an important match because he comes from a smaller country. If the referee has proved himself at the top level it should not matter what country they come from.
“All the referees who have been chosen for the World Cup have been assessed by experienced officials who have been involved at FIFA and UEFA level and marked on their performances in the World Cup and confederation competitions at a high level.
“I read the remarks that were made by the Manchester City manager. I saw the game and my own personal opinion is that I thought the referee had a good game.
“He is a very experienced referee who has been chosen for the World Cup because of excellent reports of his performances in Europe.”
If Boyce’s comments are a harbinger of what’s to come from UEFA’s review of Pellegrini’s comments, then maybe the manager will face just desserts — a big fine or suspension — for his classless post-game press conference. Call me one of those who have no question it was a penalty and red card. Flip the script: if that tackle happens on the forward on your team, are you looking for a free kick and yellow?
Didn’t think so.
Here he comes.
When Henrikh Mkhitaryan signed for Manchester United in the summer big things were expected.
It’s taken him a while to settle but now the Armenian playmaker has scored his first goal for United with a stunning superb solo effort against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.
Watch the video below to see Mkhitaryan put United 1-0 up.
What a goal.
You truly have to see this a few times to believe it is possible.
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Stunning footage from a game between National Vatera and Makedonikos Kozanis in Greece’s four-tier last weekend has emerged as Kozanis striker Thanasis Takidis goes clean through on goal, gets one yard out but then somehow delays his shot and is blocked on the line by a defender, then the ball gets away from him.
Watch the clip above to see probably the worst miss you will ever see.
I mean, come on man…
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) Japanese champion Kashima Antlers beat Auckland City of New Zealand 2-1 in the opening game of the Club World Cup on Thursday.
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Kim Dae-wook headed Auckland ahead five minutes after half time, but substitute Shuhei Akasaki equalized for the J-League champions in the 67th minute.
Fellow sub Mu Kanazaki then completed the comeback in the 88th, heading home from close range after Shoma Doi nodded a deep Shuto Yamamoto cross from the left back.
Kashima advanced to a quarterfinal against African champion Mamelodi Sundowns in Osaka on Sunday.
The winner of that game will face Copa Libertadores winner Atletico Nacional in the semifinal Wednesday. European powerhouse Real Madrid also enters the tournament from the semifinal stage.
The use of video replays was available during the match but there were no official reviews. The technology is there to be used only for correcting clear errors in game-changing decisions.
Week 15 of the Premier League season has arrived with Manchester United hosting Tottenham, Liverpool welcoming West Ham and Leicester City and Manchester City clashing at the King Power Stadium.
[ STREAM: Every PL game live, here ]
With some intense relegation battles between Swansea City and Sunderland and Hull City and Crystal Palace, there is plenty on the line as the festive season really starts to heat up.
Below are previews, score predictions and everything else you need to know about all 10 games this weekend.
Chelsea vs. West Brom
Leicester City vs. Manchester City
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool vs. West Ham
Arsenal vs. Stoke City
Southampton vs. Middlesbrough
Swansea City vs. Sunderland
Watford vs. Everton
Hull vs. Crystal Palace
Burnley vs. Bournemouth