Bastia releases deplorable double-edged “condemnation” of Brandão’s headbutt

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Ligue 1 club SC Bastia tried to quell a media firestorm over striker Brandão after the 34-year-old veteran executed his own version of Order 66 on PSG’s Thiago Motta.

Brandão waited for the PSG midfielder in the tunnel and targeted Motta with a headbutt which resulted in a broken nose.

Now, the club has issued the following statement, complete with a moronic caveat at the end which completely undercuts the basis of the statement:

In this statement, SC Bastia unequivocally condemns the gesture of striker Brandao on Thiago Motta after the final whistle of the match between PSG and Bastia. Pending additional news, Sporting reserves any possibility of further action in this matter.

Each club at some point in its history may be faced with unacceptable actions of one of its employees. The officers, staff, and players in now way reflect the actions of this individual and the authorities have the power to impose sporting sanctions.

May we however simply be allowed to lament the equally unacceptable behavior of some players who are constantly insulting and provoking their opponents.

We therefore call on all parties to exercise restraint so that the matter be dealt with in the most fair and equitable way there is.

No, Bastia, you may not lament the “equally unacceptable behavior.” The fact that the club would even come close to equating the sledging of a player on the pitch to a physical assault which, quite frankly, would hopefully be followed up by the police with a legal charge, is simply appalling.

[MORE: Player headbutts Thiago Motta in the tunnel, breaking his nose – Video]

Sure, the club is trying to protect its own player, but in this instance, there is simply no protecting or defending what he did by telling us he was riled up by “constant insulting and provoking.”

In what seems like a trivial statement, Bastia have proven they don’t fully grasp the seriousness of what occurred in the tunnel after the match.

Hopefully there will be a swift and long suspension for a player, as there is simply no place for the intentional injuring of an opponent, especially outside the playing field.  While I don’t think PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi will get his wish that the player be banned for life, there’s certainly a chance Brandão doesn’t play again this season and at 34 years old his career could end up in shambles.

UPDATE: PSG has responded, saying they appreciate the gesture but are surprised that Bastia has not sanctioned the player whatsoever.  The Parisians called Brandão’s headbutt an “extremely violent gesture [which] is inexcusable and calls for exemplary sanctions from the football league’s Disciplinary Commission.”

VIDEO: Tunisia equalizes on controversial penalty kick

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England centerback Kyle Walker put his arm up to halt the forward progress of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Unfortunately for Walker, Ben Youssef was in the box and Walker’s elbow caught Ben Youssef’s face.

Referee Wilmar Roldan quickly whistled for a penalty kick and despite the protests from a half-dozen of England players and a check from the VAR, the called stood. Ferjani Sassi’stepped up to the spot and found the lower-left corner, just barely beating Jordan Pickford to tie the game in the 35th minute.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

How will England respond?

VIDEO: Captain Kane puts England on the board early

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It may be the easiest goal-scoring opportunity Harry Kane‘s ever had in an international competition, and he finished it as easy as you’d like.

Kane side-footed home after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen made a terrific save on John Stone’s header off a corner, but the save was directed right into a wide-open Kane who was standing ready inside the six yard box. The 11th minute goal will surely settle some of the Three Lions’ nerves as they open their World Cup bid in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

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But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.

VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news