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Beautiful Rabona! Erik Lamela (Tottenham) vs Asteras Tripoli

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in Thursday's 5-1 Europa League win over Asteras Tripolis, but the big talking point was without doubt Erik Lamela's magical goal.


Kane opened the scoring with an excellent strike after 13 minutes, but Lamela stole the show just before the half hour.

Emmanuel Adebayor tried to wriggle through on the edge of the area but the ball was cleared as far as Lamela.

It would have been easier to try his luck with his weaker right foot but one-footed Lamela wanted to use his stronger left and the end result was unforgettable.

As the ball came across the edge of the box, Lamela swung his favoured left foot behind his standing right leg and curled a jaw-dropping effort past the helpless Tomáš Košický in the Asteras goal.

Most inside the ground and even some of Lamela's teammates didn't quite realise what had happened until replays went up on the big screen.

The Argentinian got his second of the match in the 66th minute before Kane added two more to complete his treble and ended the game picking the ball out of the net after replacing Hugo Lloris in goal after he'd been sent off.

"It was a very big goal, a great goal, an unbelievable goal," Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said afterwards.

"I am happy for him and it helped us to get the three points. Maybe it is the best (by one of my players ever). Probably."

"I've seen him do that in training - he's got that in the locker," Kane told ITV. "It's great for him to see it pay off on the big stage in a game."


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Arsenal fan makes cringey Arsène Wenger birthday cake

This diehard Arsenal fan took the time and out in the effort to make this very special cake, but it's hard to argue that it's not a little creepy.


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Ex-footballer jailed for impersonating Chelsea youngster Gaël Kakuta

Former footballer Medi Abalimba has been sentenced to four years in prison after admitting to multiple fraud offences while pretending to be Chelsea youngster Gaël Kakuta.

Gaël Kakuta (left) and his impersonator Medi Abalimba
Gaël Kakuta (left) and his impersonator Medi Abalimba

Abalimba was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday of multiple fraud offences - with the help of stolen credit card information - totalling approximately £163,000.

He obtained the details by photographing American Express cards he found in lockers he broke into using a master key at a gym in Camden, North London.

The 22-year-old would allegedly swan into nightclubs with an entourage of people, including bodyguards and women, and spend thousands on champagne in exclusive VIP areas.

Abalimba phoned venues claiming to be the agent of Kakuta before turning up posing as the French winger.

His crime spree saw him stay at expensive hotels, dine at fine restaurants and, on one occasion, he even took four women from Manchester to London in a rented helicopter.

Greater Manchester Police tracked him down to an £800-a-night rented mansion in Berkshire.

He admitted 12 offences of fraud and dishonesty, in London, West Yorkshire, Manchester and Derby and asked for 19 offences to be considered.

Sergeant Adam Cronshaw, of GMP, told reporters: "Having spoken with many of the victims in this case it appears that Abalimba is a charming and charismatic individual who was able to call on his previous football experience and the fact he bears some resemblance to the real Gaël Kakuta to deceive them.

"He was able to trick most people he came across and grew in confidence the longer the charade continued."

He added: "Abalimba told us that many of his victims treated him so differently because they thought he was a celebrity footballer. Unfortunately this trust and goodwill was misplaced.

"I hope more businesses are now aware of this scam and have the necessary security measures in place to prevent similar occurrences."

Abalimba made a £1 million move to Derby County in 2009 but fell out of the game due to an apparent lack of discipline and commitment.

The real Kakuta, meanwhile, remains contracted to Chelsea but is currently on loan in Spain with Rayo Vallecano.

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Goal of the day: Marco Reus (Dortmund) vs Galatasaray

Borussia Dortmund maintained their perfect start to their Champions League campaign with a dominant 4-0 victory at Galatasaray on Wednesday, with Marco Reus scoring the pick of the goals.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged a brace inside the opening 18 minutes with two close-range strikes.

The game was essentially out of sight by half-time when Reus added a spectacular third in the 41st minute.

Picking up the ball on the right, the 25-year-old unleashed a dipping, long-range shot that crashed over Fernando Muslera's despairing dive and in.

Adrián Ramos completed the night with Dortmund's fourth seven minutes from the end.


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Mario Balotelli swaps shirts with Pepe at half-time, immediately subbed off

Mario Balotelli will not endear himself to the Liverpool faithful after being seen swapping shirts Real Madrid defender Pepe at half-time - with the Reds 3-0 down.

Mario Balotelli is seen swapping his Liverpool jersey with Real Madrid player Pepe
Mario Balotelli is seen swapping his Liverpool jersey with Real Madrid player Pepe

Photo: YouTube

The Italian endured another goalless 45 minutes in a Liverpool shirt as Champions League holders dominated the opening half of the Group B clash at Anfield.

With home fans already angry at his lacklustre showing, Balotelli then risked irking them further by swapping shirts with Pepe before entering the tunnel to the changing rooms.

It was Balotelli's last action of a rather ineffective night as he did not return for the second-half with manager Brendan Rodgers hauling him off in favour of Adam Lallana.

"It's something that I don't like to see," Rodgers told Sky Sports.

"I've seen it happen in other leagues and in other countries but it's certainly something that doesn't happen here and shouldn't happen.

"We had an incident here with a player last year (Mamadou Sakho) which I dealt with and if that's the case then I'll deal with that as well."

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was more laid back about the shirt-swapping, telling reporters: "I think it is nothing new. Sometimes the players change their shirt at half-time with the opponent. I don't see a problem."


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Ex-Milan star Robinho accused of gang rape

Brazilian forward Robinho has been accused of being the mentor of a gang rape of an 18-year-old girl in January 2013, while he was at AC Milan.


According to Italian publication Corriere della Sera, the 30-year-old was one of a group of men who allegedly abused her after meeting her in a restaurant where several friends were having dinner, along with Robinho's wife.

Robinho then allegedly left his wife at home before returning to the scene with his colleagues and taking the girl to an unknown location to assault her.

The girl waited six months to report the incident, and according to the reports, there are "some doubts" with her story.

And Robinho, who is currently on loan in Brazil at Santos, has emphatically denied any involvement in the alleged gang rape.

"With regard to reports involving the footballer Robson de Souza (Robinho), irresponsibly circulated by the Italian media and picked up in Brazil without any attempt at verifying their truth, Robinho denies any involvement in the said incident", read a note published on the player's website.

In 2009, Robinho had already been accused of assualy of a young woman while at Manchester City, but charges were dropped a few months later by West Yorkshire Police.

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Kieron Dyer lifts lid on infamous on-field brawl with Newcastle teammate Lee Bowyer

Former Newcastle United star Kieron Dyer has revealed the circumstances of his on-field brawl with teammate Lee Bowyer back in 2005.


The incident occurred during a 3-0 defeat against Aston Villa in 2005 when both players were sent off for fight at St James' Park.

Dyer was banned for three matches while Bowyer was hit with a four-game suspension and £200,000 fine having been deemed the aggressor.

Nobody was exactly sure what caused the two to fight, but now nine years on, Dyer has finally lifted the lid on the shocking incident.

The 35-year-old told Chronicle Live: "We were playing the game, he came short and wanted the ball and I passed to someone else.

"He was like 'Give me the ball' and I was like 'I haven't given the ball away, what you talking about.' Five minutes later he came again and I gave it to somebody else.

"And he said, 'You never pass to me!' I said, 'The reason I don't pass to you is because you're **** basically.'

"There were a lot of swear words. And that was it then you just saw him lose his head.

"He said, 'You what?' And I said, 'You heard me.'

"As he was walking towards me I just thought he was going to grab me or push me.

"When he was raining the punches in I thought, 'You need to get on the weights because they aren't hurting.'

"Secondly, I was thinking 'I can’t believe he's doing this in front of 50,000 people.'"

Dyer revealed that he was waiting for shirt-ripped Bowyer to walk off the field behind of him so the spat could continue in the changing room.

He added: "I didn't know you could get sent off for fighting your own team-mate, so when the red card came out I thought, 'What the hell!'

"I was sent off first and I was waiting in the tunnel to get some revenge. He came in, and we had two massive masseurs and they just dunked us on their shoulders.

"It was like a cartoon when your feet are dangling off the ground and we were trying to get at each other. We are sat in the changing room and they were in the middle of us.

"I was thinking how I could get to him. Then we heard the final whistle."


Other Newcastle players returned to the dressing room and Jean-Alain Boumsong told the pair to settle their differences there and then.

But they backed down when the then Newcastle manager Graeme Souness offered to fight them both.

Dyer said: "Boumsong came in and said, 'If you want to fight, fight now.' I was wanting to fight and get the revenge.

"Then Souness came in and said, 'If you want to fight I'll beat both of you.'

"Al (Alan Shearer) came in and I never saw him lose it like that - he went mad and called us selfish and a disgrace. He knew we'd have a three-match suspension and miss the FA Cup semi-final that was coming up."

Nine years later, Dyer and Bowyer still see one another and have repaired their friendship.

"I still see him now, we are friends. That's just the way Lee was. But I still want to beat him up," Dyer joked.


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Steven Gerrard had chances to join Real Madrid but loved Liverpool too much to leave

Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard has revealed he turned down several opportunities to join Real Madrid due to his love of his boyhood club.


On several occasions throughout his career, Gerrard has been linked with a move to the Spanish giants but the 34-year-old stayed loyal to the Reds.

Gerrard has admitted he may come to regret missing the chance to move to the Bernabéu, but would have regretted leaving Liverpool even more.

Speaking to the press ahead of Liverpool's Champions League clash against Madrid, Gerrard said: "When a club like Real Madrid are interested in you it's flattering.

"I have had a couple of options through my career to go to Real Madrid but I resisted temptation because of the feeling I had for my hometown club.

"It might be something I regret down the line for not challenging myself and experiencing another country but I would have had an even bigger regret leaving Liverpool.

"I had a great admiration for Madrid but for me Liverpool is my No 1 club."

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Little girl escapes death after bomb blast hits Shakhtar Donetsk's stadium

CCTV footage at Shakhtar Donetsk's Donbass Arena has revealed the moment a young girl narrowly escaped death when the stadium was damaged by a nearby shell blast.


The 52,000-seat venue was shelled on Monday despite the current commitment to a ceasefire agreed between the Ukraine government and Russian-backed separatists.

The blast resulted in a large section of the stadium's glass-covered facade falling from a considerable height.

Now insane footage has been released showing what happened on the ground at the time of the shelling, where one little girl was inches from being seriously injured, or worse.

The video shows a little girl walking towards the stadium's entrance and falling to the ground as a blast hit above her head.

Thankfully, the majority of the collapsed glass and concrete missed her and she was helped to her feet by an adult before the pair ran away.

"As a result of a very powerful explosion, the shock wave caused considerable damage to the western and eastern sides of the arena," Vadim Gun'ko, the acting Facilities Director of Donbass Arena, told the club's website.

"Part of the glassed elevation collapsed, with the vast area being critically damaged. The internal space was also affected. We have been recording the damage, blocking the hazardous areas.

"We have a request to all Donetsk residents: under no circumstances should one approach the northern, western and eastern sides of the stadium, it's not safe at all."




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Indian footballer dies after somersault goal celebration goes tragically wrong

An Indian footballer tragically died in hospital on Sunday after his somersault goal celebration went horribly wrong during a match last week.

Peter Biaksangzuala is seen lying on the ground after landing awkwardly on his head
Peter Biaksangzuala is seen lying on the ground after landing awkwardly on his head

Photo: YouTube

Peter Biaksangzuala attempted to perform the acrobatic celebration after scoring for Bethlehem Vengthlang against Chanmari West during a third-division Mizoram Premier League match last Tuesday.

The 23-year-old went for a spectacular celebration but fell backwards on his head as he took a series of somersaults.

As he lay on the ground in pain, unsuspecting teammates jumped on him to celebrate before they realised the extent of the injury and gestured for help.

Biaksangzuala was rushed to a local hospital where he tragically lost his life on Sunday morning after having damaged his spinal cord.

"We are shocked by the case. We at the Mizoram Football Association did all we could but could not save him," MFA secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar told Reuters.

"The association president also being the state health minister, he did all that was possible even though he was out of station.

"We considered the option to fly him to Delhi but his condition was pretty bad. He was mostly unconscious, occasionally spelling out a few words."

Biaksangzuala's club Bethlehem have announced they would retire the No 21 jersey as a tribute to the midfielder.


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Goal of the day: Stéphane Sessègnon (West Brom) vs Man United

Stéphane Sessègnon scored a cracker as West Bromwich Albion were held to a 2-2 draw by Manchester United at The Hawthorns on Monday.


The hosts started the brighter and Sessègnon opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a superb first-time finish.

Andre Wisdom got possession in his own half, left Ángel di María in his wake and ran into an ocean of space before crossing for Sessègnon.

The Benin international got on the end of a cross from the Liverpool loanee and smashed the ball into the top corner past the helpless David de Gea.

Marouane Fellaini equalised two minutes after the break but the Baggies would lead again through Saido Berahino in the 66th minute, only for Daley Blind to snatch a draw for United with three minutes left.


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Ángel di María supports UNICEF cause of saving premature babies

Ángel di María has shown his support for a UNICEF initiative aimed at raising awareness of premature births after his own daughter nearly died after being born three months early.

Sumate a la campaña "Semana del prematuro" www.semanadelprematuro.org.ar #UNICEF #AbrazarEsIncluir

A photo posted by Jor Cardoso y Angel Di Maria (@jorgelinacardoso) on


Back in April 2013, di María's daughter was born three months premature after pregnancy complications forced doctors to induce her birth and it wasn't until two months later that his daughter Mia was allowed to go home.

"My daughter has taught me that everything is possible," the Manchester United star said in The Mirror.

"She taught me that the most difficult thing is at times the easiest, that the efforts of someone can be rewarded.

"She taught me how to suffer and be able to withstand pain and be stronger. Everything she transmitted to me helped me have a spectacular season (last season with Real Madrid)."

The family remains grateful to the hospital staff and other parents who helped them through the most difficult time of their lives.

Di María added: "We spent more than two months at the hospital, always with the same parents.

"The pain unites people. It makes you stronger and we had a very relationship with all the parents there. It was not easy but we had to fight."

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FIVE players fake injury at same time to get match abandoned in Peru

A football match in Peru was halted eight minutes early after five players went down injured at the same time in an apparent bid to get the game they were losing abandoned.

Defensor Bolívar were losing 4-1 in the first leg of the Copa Peru semi-final against Defensor La Bocana on Sunday and as such, five Bolívar players went down simultaneously.

The referee had already sent two of Bolívar's players off and with eight minutes left on the clock, he had no option but to halt the game early.

If the five players faking injury had left the field, Bolívar would have only four men on the pitch, and rules state a team must have at least seven men on the field to continue.

The second leg, which is due to take place on Thursday, is now in doubt as authorities decide whether to punish Bolívar for their conduct.

FIVE players fake injury at same time to get match abandoned in Peru
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Goalkeeper in Honduras sent off for patting opponent's bum

In what has to be a footballing first, Marathón goalkeeper Júnior Morales was sent off in a recent Honduran top flight match for gently fondling the backside of his opponent.

Having scooped the ball up inside his own area, Morales patted Real Sociedad striker Eris Hernández on the arse as he ran past him.

To the surprise of everyone, though, the referee called play back, and after a tip off from his assistant, Morales was given a second yellow card and dismissed from the field.

To make matters worse, Sociedad were given a penalty for the incident with Henry Martínez dispatching the spot-kick to equalise in the 1-1 draw.

Goalkeeper in Honduras sent off for patting opponent's bum
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Thunderbastard! Marvin Ducksch (Paderborn) vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Marvin Ducksch scored a terrific volley to lead Paderborn 07 to a 3-1 comeback win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.


The opening exchanges did not deliver much in the way of entertainment for the 15,000 fans packed into the compact Paderborn Arena.

After a quiet first-half, Alexander Meier gave the visitors the lead with his fifth goal in as many games.

Disappointed to be behind, Paderborn coach André Breitenreiter quickly made two changes with Stefan Kutschke and Ducksch replacing Lukas Rupp and Elias Kachunga.

The subsitutions immediately paid dividends as Paderborn were level on 66 minutes courtesy of Ducksch's stunning volley.

The Borussia Dortmund loanee exchanged passes with Kutschke before hitting a sweet volley sailing over the helpless Felix Wiedwald and into the top corner.

Paderborn captain Uwe Hünemeier then put the hosts in front before Kutschke sealed their third win of the season.


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Sunderland goalkeeper urges teammates to reimburse travelling fans after Southampton thrashing

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone was so ashamed by their 8-0 hammering at Southampton that he is intent on arranging compensation for fans who witnessed it.


More than 2,500 Black Cats fans made a 650-mile round trip and they watched with bemusement and outrage as their side were humiliated at St Mary's on Saturday.

The humiliating 8-0 scoreline matched the club's worst ever defeats at Sheffield Wednesday in 1911, West Ham in 1968, and Watford in 1982.

And Mannone claims the players should make amends by paying back the ticket and travel expenses of the away supporters from their own pockets.

Mannone told reporters: "I will ­personally talk to the team to see if it is possible to pay for our fans' tickets and their trip. It is difficult for us but it is difficult for them as well."

Sunderland fans started streaming for the exits after Saints scored their fifth goal in the 69th minute, but around 1,000 die hard supporters were still there at the final whistle.

He added: "They are special fans - we are really lucky to be at this club and, if it was me, I would ­probably not have reacted in the same way as them.

"I really mean that we should pay for their tickets and travel, I will do everything possible to organise it. We should do it because we didn't put our foot in, we didn't work hard.

"We threw in the towel, and I include myself. Each one of us in the team should do our best to make them feel proud of this club and not have to go through 8-0 defeats."


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Comedy Own Goal! Rafael Marques (Verona) vs AC Milan

A comical own goal by Hellas Verona defender Rafael Marques helped AC Milan to a comfortable 3-1 win on Sunday.


With both teams heading into the game level on 11 points, a visit to the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi was viewed as a stern test of Milan's recent revival.

The hosts appeared solid at the back in the early stages but conceded in unconventional fashion in the 21st minute.

Marques, facing his own goal and under no pressure, tried to hoof an Ignazio Abate cross clear but he completely miskicked the ball and sent a sliced volley beyond his own goalkeeper.

Keisuke Honda then doubled the lead on 27 minutes and made the game safe in the second-half to take his tally for the season to six in seven matches.

Nico López added a consolation three minutes from time before Verona were reduced to 10 when Rafael Márquez saw red for a second bookable offence.

"The Marques own goal? It happens to everybody," Verona coach Andrea Mandorlini told Sky Sport Italia.


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Own Golazo! Santiago Vergini (Sunderland) vs Southampton

Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini scored one of the craziest own goals in Premier League history to gift Southampton the lead at St Mary's on Saturday.


Sunderland started the brighter of the two sides, but all their good work was undone after 12 minutes in bizarre, if not spectacular fashion.

There appeared very little danger when Vergini tried to put the ball out of play from Morgan Schneiderlin inside the area.

The 26-year-old Argentine, though, scuffed his clearance and struck the ball into the corner of his own net with a finish the Southampton players could only dream of scoring.

It was to get worse for the Black Cats and by the end of the afternoon goalkeeper Vito Mannone had been beaten eight times with no reply from the visitors.

"We started off well, we were aggressive - we passed the ball well and then we conceded one of the most difficult goals to try and explain," Sunderland manager Gus Poyet told the club's website.


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