After Balotelli, Martinez take “selfies” with pitch invaders, should we be worried?

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Over the weekend both Javi Martinez and Mario Balotelli were confronted by pitch invaders.

Both responded in the same manner… they posed for “selfies” with the rowdy fans who were then carted away by security guards.

I was present for Balotelli’s selfie at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, as the AC Milan forward marked his appearance against his old club Manchester City in typically bizarre fashion.

[RELATED: Balotelli’s selife with pitch invaders]

It is all well and good taking selifes with players off the pitch and having a laugh and a joke, but are we going to see fans running on the pitch in the Premier League and other top leagues across the world this season? I hope not.

Who knows when a fan will run onto the pitch with the wrong intention and hit or stab a player? I am not trying to suck the phone over light-hearted acts like we saw in Germany and the United States over the past weekend. Not at all.

Instead I am concerned for the safety of the players and also the fact that it will be tough to keep the crowd controlled if even five percent of the fans decide they want to jump on the pitch to get a selfie with their favorite professional player. Apparently the two fans who took a selfie with Balotelli were out of the stadium within an hour. That is the worrying part. If there is no real downside to doing this, a hefty fine or jail-time, will everyone have a crack at getting away with it?

Fingers crossed security is stepped up at the rest of the preseason friendlies and throughout the upcoming 2014-15 campaigns across the world.

In Pittsburgh the entire stadium burst into laughter at the way Balotelli reacted and posed for a selife with the two fans. However, think about what could have happened or what might happen to players on the pitch if somebody with intent to harm jumps out of the terraces. If you’re at a game this season, how annoying would it be to see the match stopped every five minutes as fans run on to get selfies with players?

Everything in moderation. Selfies on a soccer pitch with a pro during the game should be crossed off the list of “things to do.”

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.