Stuttgart, Barcelona and the Biggest World Football Blunders of the Weekend
Sometimes a blunder is a team effort.
We were reminded of this by a pair of matches in Spain and Germany on Sunday, although while one side regrouped following the mistake and went on to post a resounding victory, the other slumped to a defeat that put it dangerously close to the relegation places.
There were refereeing errors and silly sending-offs as well, and in the following slideshow, we’ll take a look at five of the biggest gaffes from the weekend’s action.
5. Alexandru Maxim v Eintracht Frankfurt
Relegation-threatened Stuttgart came into the weekend in desperate need of a victory, and when Thomas Schneider’s men carried a 1-0 lead into the final 10 minutes at Eintracht Frankfurt, it looked as though they’d get it.
Then it all fell to pieces.
Stuttgart attacker Alexandru Maxim should have put the finishing touches on an important win when he missed a sitter in the 78th minute, and just two minutes later, Eintracht had their equaliser through Jan Rosenthal.
The entire Stuttgart team failed to keep its nerve, as it turned out, and in the 89th minute, Alexander Meier scored the hosts’ winner after some poor play by Georg Niedermeier.
4. Giuseppe Bellusci v Genoa
The frustration of a difficult season caught up to Giuseppe Bellusci on Sunday.
With his side having dropped to 19th in Serie A in recent weeks, the Catania defender nearly talked himself into an ejection after he failed to acknowledge a booking following a foul in the 25th minute.
But he’d get his marching orders, anyway, as just 14 minutes later he was presented a second yellow for a tackle on Genoa’s Marco Motta.
Already trailing by a goal at the time, Catania would concede once more in their 15th defeat of the season.
3. Ignacio Iglesias: Villarreal v Real Betis
Real Betis just can’t catch a break.
Although they overcame Rubin Kazan to progress into the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, they were denied a result by a referee who pointed to the spot when he should have kept his hands at his sides.
With their match away to Villarreal scoreless through 70 minutes, Betis might have fancied a late winner before Ignacio Iglesias awarded a penalty to the hosts, despite the fact that Javier Chica’s tackle on Ikechukwu Uche had succeeded in dispossessing the Nigeria international of the ball.
But Iglesias awarded the spot-kick, and Bruno made no mistake from 12 yards.
Ruben Castro would end up equalising for Betis in the 85th minute, but with only a single point from the match, the Seville outfit came out of the weekend dead last in La Liga and 11 points back of safety.
2. Victor Valdes and the Barcelona Defense v Almeria
Don’t be fooled by the scoreline.
Although Barcelona posted an important 4-1 win at home to Almeria on Sunday, they only put the match to bed in the final seven minutes—a discomfort self-inflicted after a laughable bit of defending provided their guests a lifeline.
Miguel Angel Corona’s corner might well have been easily cleared, but when Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes failed to overcome his indecision and his defenders remained planted to their spots, Angel Trujillo was able to head the ball into the back of the net.
His goal cut the Catalans’ lead to 2-1 (Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi had already scored), but it wasn’t until Carlos Puyol’s goal in the 83rd minute that Barcelona were finally able to cruise to the victory.
Xavi added another insurance marker in the 89th minute.
1. Benjamin Andre v Lille
Salomon Kalou scored his first Lille hat-trick on Sunday, but it was an Ajaccio player who picked up the headlines following one of the misses of the season at Stade Francois Coty.
Shortly after Kalou had opened the scoring from the spot, Ajaccio midfielder Benjamin Andre somehow failed to put the ball into a gaping net from in close—providing Lille the let-off they’d turn into a 3-2 win.
Kalou would score twice more, and Junior Tallo’s brace proved insufficient to earn the hosts a share of the points.
If only Andre had been more clinical.