Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

VIDEO: Lionel Messi got angry, head-butted, choked Roma’s Yanga-Mbiwa


Has it happened? Has it finally happened?

Has Lionel Messi, the undisputed best player in the world, finally made his “heel turn” and gone full-on evil after a decade of being the lovable little guy?

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Predicting the 2015-16 Premier League ]

If the 28-year-old Argentine’s actions on Wednesday, in which he head-butted and briefly grabbed the throat of Roma defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (above video) in the 35th minute of a preseason friendly, are any indication, perhaps the quiet, bullied, tiny runt of the soccer world has finally snapped and decided to fight back.

Messi, by the way, went on to score Barcelona’s second goal of the game just five minutes later.

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The best part of the above video, in which Messi does the aforementioned things, is the close-up shot and reaction of Neymar who sees all of this transpiring a few yards away, and can’t believe what his eyes are telling him.

I’ll kick things off in the comments section. Two options to begin your post: “If Ronaldo had done that…” and “If Suarez had done that…”

Roma top Lazio in Rome derby, guarantee 2nd-place finish, Champions League spot

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The Rome derby is always heated, tense and contentious, but not often is it a hugely important fixture in directly determining which of its two participants, Roma and Lazio, finishes ahead of the other, as was the case this time around.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

With the Roman neighbors separated by a single point ahead of Monday’s showdown at the two sides’ shared home, the Stadio Olimpico, not only was Serie A supremacy on the line, but also a guaranteed place in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League group stage. The loser would be relegated to the dreaded Champions League qualification playoff next August, in which they could face the likes of Manchester United, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen or Monaco.

Sadly, the occasion was marred before the game itself had even kicked off, as two unarmed Roma fans were stabbed outside the stadium. The two men were rushed to the hospital and reported to be in serious condition at the time.

[ MORE: Top seeds announced for 2015-16 Champions League ]

Once the game finally kicked off, much of its memorable action was saved until the final 20 minutes, when three goals in 12 minutes (below videos) brought the Derby della Capitale to life and provided a thrilling finish to Rome and Lazio’s battle for second.

Juan Iturbe and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa provided the goals for Roma, the latter the winner, nullifying Filip Djordjevic’s equalizer minutes earlier.

Lazio (66 points, Roma – 70) are still all but guaranteed a third-place finish, their highest the 2006-07 season, and Serie A’s Champions League playoff place, assuming they don’t lose on the final day of the season while Napoli (63) win and make up 13 goals against Lazio’s superior goal differential.

Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle United: Four games without a goal for Newcastle (video)

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With Newcastle having failed to score in their last three outings, and missing Loïc Rémy due to injury, it never looked as though this match would be a replay of the 5-1 Magpies win back on Boxing Day. Sure enough, what we got was a rather scrappy affair, with few shots on target and Stoke managing to eek out all three points.

The Potters really should have scored by the time ten minutes were out. Marko Arnautović sent in a pin-point cross from the left, falling perfectly for Peter Crouch, about five yards out. But Crouch was able to do nothing more than bash his header against the base of the post.

Two minutes later, Newcastle also wasted a fantastic chance. Dan Gosling slipped into space to meet a ball from Shola Ameobi, but, despite being just six yards out, the midfield managed to place his shot over the bar.

The game seemed destined to revolve around missed chances. Ameobi’s own effort, a shot from distance, went wide. Peter Odemwingie had a good chance on a ball from Arnautović, but could do nothing with it.

So it seemed rather apt that the opening goal seemed to be more luck than skill. Stoke fans might classify it as a wonder-goal, but in fact, Erik Pieters overhit his cross. The ball floated down over Tim Krul, hit the far post and bounced into the back of the net.

Newcastle had a chance to respond before the half was out, but Asmir Begović got down to save Cheick Tioté’s effort from distance.

The visitors did their best to find an equalizer in the second half, but everything they conjured up was rather tame. Papiss Cissé started out the second half with a wasted, high effort from a pass from Mike Williamson. His 64th minute shot was much more threatening, but Steven N’Zonzi was there with a block.

Stoke made attempts to double their advantage by hitting Newcastle on the break, but they were only able to come close to a second. Hatem Ben Arfa, on for Dan Gosling just moments before, couldn’t control the ball and Stoke were able to break, with Charlie Adam putting his shot wide. A few minutes later, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, on for Steven Taylor, was called into action to ensure a great cross from Geoff Cameron was put out of danger.


Stoke City:Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Ireland (Adam 66), Nzonzi, Whelan, Arnautovic; Odemwingie (Walters 87); Crouch

Goals: Pieters 42′

Newcastle United: Krul; S Taylor (Yanga-Mbiwa 61), Williamson, Coloccini; Anita, Gosling (Ben Arfa 73), Tiote, Gouffran, Dummett; Sh Ameobi, Cisse (Armstrong 73)

Southampton 4-0 Newcastle United: Rodriguez brilliant in commanding win (video)

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Jay Rodriguez was a world-class striker in Southampton’s 4-0 demolition of Newcastle United at St. Mary’s on Saturday, as his brace paced the Saints to a big win and eighth place in the table.

It was no Krul, no Remy, no Debuchy, plenty of problems for Newcastle in an embarrassing, at times listless, 90 minutes on the road. The club had no answers all afternoon as Southampton threatened at will and asserted itself as a bigger threat to move up the table; Southampton surpassed the Magpies for eighth place with the win, earning a two-point lead with 48 points.

Rodriguez nearly opened the game’s scoring in the eighth minute, getting behind Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to collect a tremendous long ball. He fired off the side of the net behind Rob Elliot. A couple minutes later, Rodriguez rose over the same defender but headed wide left again.

(MORE: Premier League Roundup: Chelsea slip up, Man United respond, relegation drama)

Southampton was largely in control of the first half and looked dangerous for the duration. Elliot made a jaw-dropping save just before halftime, when Rodriguez looked to tap home but the fully-extended keeper got pushed it aside.

Moments later, Southampton found its way to a 2v0 — or 1, counting Elliot — which ended with Rodriguez collected a FIFA-style side pass from Rickie Lambert to tap home. It was 1-0 at the half, and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew likely counted his blessings from the stands as he serves a touchline ban; The scoreline probably should’ve read at least 3-0.

The Saints doubled their advantage right after the break when Lambert darted past the Newcastle back line to tap in a lofted ball from Adam Lallana. It was 2-0 in the 49th and, with the way Newcastle was attacking, it looked hopeless for the visitors.

Lallana turned scorer as the clock hit 69, moving at will through open field to try a bending ball that tricked Elliot to leave this one all but finished.

Then, it was a goal post and save from Elliot that denied Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse within seconds, as 4-0 nearly arrived. Rodriguez found the fourth in the 90th minute, dancing around Mike Williamson in the six before firing home.


Southampton: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, S. Davis (Schneiderlin, 70′), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Gallagher, 90′), Rodriguez, Lambert (Ramírez, 83′).

Goals: Rodriguez 2 (45, 90), Lambert (49), Lallana (70)

Newcastle United: Elliot; Yanga-Mbiwa (Santon, 46′), Williamson, Coloccini, Haïdara; Anita, Tioté; Sissoko (Dummett, 79′), Ben Arfa (de Jong, 46), Gouffran; Cissé

VIDEO: Premier League Round 30’s Showboats of the week

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This video’s worth your time for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s no-look rainbow-esque pass to Moussa Sissoko in Newcastle’s 1-0 loss to Fulham, but you also get a slick turn from an Evertonian, nifty footwork from Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

And of course, Fabian Delph…