After Jason Puncheon’s bit of awfulness, looking at other famously missed penalty kicks

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To say that Jason Puncheon “missed” is penalty kick for Crystal Palace on Saturday doesn’t exactly do justice to degree of awfulness. Poor fellow.

His spot shot flew so high and wide (to the left, if you must know … and can see from the photo over there) that it surely deserves some sort of mention among famously missed penalty kicks. The notoriety here, of course, is on the technical merit – on the absurd lack of it, that is.

But it also had us wondering about the famously missed spot shots, the ones notorious for their heavy impact in the world’s most meaningful matches. Here are a foursome of notorious PK misses to consider:

Chelsea’s John Terry vs. Manchester United, 2008 Champions League final: Yes, the turf was slippery that famous night in Moscow. Still, what a miss! And what a moment! This story suggests it was among the most famous moments in soccer history. Hmmm. We’ll have to think about that one. Still …

Ghan’s Asamoah Gyan vs. Uruguay, 2010 World Cup quarterfinals: There have been huge penalty kick misses in World Cup semifinals and quarterfinals, mostly in tiebreakers. Michel Platini took a particularly awful penalty kick in a quarterfinal tiebreaker of the 1986 World Cup against Brazil. And a famous miss by Chris Waddle helped send England famously out of the 1990 World Cup in a semifinal tiebreaker against Germany. But in the case of Gyan at South Africa 2010, his miss meant that Ghana had failed to become the first African team to advance to a World Cup semifinal. It also involved a certain choice by a certain controversial figure (Luis Suarez), all of which has been much discussed since.

England’s David Beckham vs. Portugal, 2004 European Championships: It was such an awful miss, flying so high into the Portuguese night, and getting his team’s tiebreaker off to such a dreadful start. It wasn’t the most famous of matches … but it was Beckham!

Italy’s Roberto Baggio vs. Brazil, World Cup 1994 final: It became a verb, at least for a while, “pulling a Baggio.” His shot flew high that warm day at the Rose Bowl, and it gave Brazil the 1994 World Cup title. Costly? Yes … you could argue THE most costly miss ever.

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Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.