Saturday’s “Should It Count?” Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Alania Vladikavkaz

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Before we get to the video …

  • (a) James Appell is the man to follow re: Russian Premier League soccer. He gets the big hat-tip on this one.
  • (b) Alania Vladikavkaz is the best club name in soccer. Tell me if you have a better one, but there’s something awesome about VLAD-ee-khav-khaz. Strong.

From today’s match at the Petrovsky in St. Petersburg we get this controversial goal. An Alania player goes flying as a ball comes out of their box, the official seemingly awarding the foul. An teammate puts his hand on the ball, placing it, before pushing up. When another Alania player puts a boot to it …

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGCcz7GSvIc%5D

There are two levels of potential indignation on this one: Is it legal? And is it ethical?

The first is easy. Yes, it’s legal. That’s why the goal counted. Just because the Vladikavkaz players were confused doesn’t mean Zenit’s obliged to stop or the referee should be compelled to take pity on them. Yeah, it sucks to give up a goal like that, especially because the goalkeeper and defense are going to be too shocked to put up a fight. But that’s doesn’t mean the goal gets waved off.

As for the second decision, I’ll let you decide. If I were coaching a team that did this, I’d cringe and move on as soon as possible. I wouldn’t take my players to task, but I wouldn’t applaud their ingenuity, either.