Cup Magic & Red Cards Galore | Case of the Mondays
Not everyone had as good a weekend as Chelsea or Tottenham or Dortmund. Here are the players and teams with the worst Case of the Mondays this week.
Turf Moor is a fortress no more, as non-league side Lincoln City downed Burnley 1-0 and sent them hurtling out of the FA Cup. It looked like it was going to be a forced replay until the 89th minute, when Sean Raggett headed the ball into the back of Burnley’s net. Before that, Lincoln City had one shot on target that half and none in the first half; on the other hand, Burnley had had several. And even before the goal, Joey Barton was caught performing the worst-acted dive in the history of football in order to get an Imps player sent off (it didn’t work). Overall, an embarrassing day for Burnley. Was this the magic of the FA Cup, or bad sign for a club who desperately need to be gaining points at home as they’ve won none on the road this season? Most likely the former; there are far worse teams below them, and as they sit in 12th in the league relegation doesn’t seem immediately threatening. However, the loss won’t be great for their confidence as they head out for a string of four straight league away matches.
The player everybody loves to hate was up to his old ways again against FC Lorient this weekend, getting sent off in the 69th minute for, evidently, insulting the referee.Luckily, Nice held onto their lead despite being a man down for the final 20 minutes, but it’s still an unpleasant situation for the striker himself. It is his third red card — his second straight red card — this season at Nice, and it is not the most promising return to the squad for the Italian after only being used as a late substitute against Saint-Etienne and missing the last match due to illness. Plus, it means that so far in 2017, he has the same amount of red cards as goals.This incident also comes shortly after his teammate criticized him for a bad attitude and “taking his foot off the gas.” After all, Balotelli did start the season with 5 goals in his first 3 matches, and he was a big reason that Nice was making strides in the title race; recently, he’s had 3 in his last 7, not counting the game in which he featured for only 8 minutes. He’ll now face suspension as his team look to gain on PSG in 2nd and Monaco in 1st.
No, you don’t have deja vu. Leicester really are having another terrible Monday. This time, it was at the hands of League One side Millwall, who beat them 1-0 in the FA Cup with a last-minute goal from a fullback. Can you call it an upset if Leicester have only won once in their last 7 matches, that one win being the last FA Cup victory, and only twice overall in 2017? And if Leicester can’t beat a team two leagues below them, who can they beat? While all the focus has been on their odd ability to stay in the UCL while fighting off dwindling chances of Premier League safety, the FA Cup was certainly the more winnable of the tournaments they were still in. If anything, Ranieri could have used the win and the quarter-final spot to cushion his own position.They’ll look to bounce first against Sevilla in the Champions League and then Liverpool in the league, and all we can say is godspeed to them
Another bad instance of deja vu is Club América’s loss in the Clásico Nacional to bitter rivals Chivas. To add insult to injury, it was Chivas’ first win at home in this Clásico since 2011; they were able to pray on América’s form so far this half season — they went into the match with a 2-1-3 record and sit in the bottom half of the table — as well as a weakened América side, with both Bruno Valdez and Cecilio Dominguez out to injury. It certainly hasn’t been the most graceful Clausura start for the Apertura runners-up. Naturally, their performance has their coach sitting in hot water — and the fact that he got himself sent off in the 76th minute for dispossessing an opposition player with an (albeit clean) tackle. It seems that nobody in that organization is up to their best behavior right now.