By Tim Stannard
1) Video referee stars in Atletico Nacional defeat
The moment that may well lead to the End of Days for humanity arrived in the 30th minute in a FIFA Club World Cup semifinal clash between Kashima Antlers and Atletico Nacional in Suita, Japan.
The game was halted by the whistle-peeping referee and a penalty suddenly awarded to the Japanese club for an infringement in the penalty area during a free-kick, moments before. But the main match official had not seen the supposedly sneaky push from Orlando Berrio which looked more than soft. Instead, the new Video Assistant Referees (VARs) system had identified the foul. The machines had taken over.
Technically speaking, that wasn’t true as a breathing human being was behind the call. But soon, a cost-cutting FIFA will eliminate that pesky, fallible, expensive middle man with drones refereeing matches instead. It’s a slippery slope. Rocked by the call, the Colombian Copa Libertadores winners crashed to a 3-0 defeat and missed out on the chance of a final clash against Real Madrid, to scupper FIFA’s money-making schemes.
2) Zidane declares Ronaldo to be best in Real Madrid history
Those FIFA bean-counters will now be relying on Real Madrid doing the business by squeezing past Mexican side, Club America, in the early hours of Thursday morning USA time. The Champions League holders will be having to win that clash without Sergio Ramos in the back four, or bailing the team out in the last minute. Indeed, even Pepe is a doubt with the center-back getting a sick-note due to muscular fatigue.
Speaking ahead of the Mexican match-up, Coach Zizou, has done some ego-rubbing for Cristiano Ronaldo with quite the declaration of support for the four-times Ballon d’Or winner. “It’s no exaggeration to say that he’s the best player in the history of Real Madrid,” said the Real Madrid manager.
Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM ET to find out if Real Madrid’s Lost in Translation trip to Japan might just cost the team La Liga.
3) Pep under pressure at City and a surprise Championship sacking
After Arsenal performed a traditional choke in Goodison Park on Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to Everton, attentions to turn to three big names in a second day of midweek Premier League action. League leaders, Chelsea, are looking for a tenth win in a row up at Sunderland. Antonio Conte revealed that top scorer, Diego Costa, is allowed a post-match beer to rehydrate. Possibly where Yaya Toure went wrong with his drunk-driving excuse on Tuesday.
Manchester United are away at Crystal Palace, while under-fire Manchester City host Watford with Pep Guardiola growing increasingly chippy over journalists questioning his tactical acumen. Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT for the best action and analysis from the day’s play. And remember to tune into beIN CONNECT from 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT for some Championship action as league leaders, Newcastle United, make an away trip to Wigan.
BREAKING NEWS! The mad Championship sacking train continues with Birmingham City announcing that the club is parting company with manager, Gary Rowett. Birmingham are currently lying in seventh, just one place from the play-off zone.
4) Oscar on brink of Shanghai swap
The lure of loot in China continues to tempt football players in their prime. Oscar is on the brink of completing a switch from Chelsea to Chinese Super League giants Shanghai SIPG FOR $75m. "It's 90 per cent certain," says the 25-year-old reportedly. "It just depends on a few bureaucratic details." Carlos Tevez is also rumored to be making a move to Shanghai Shenua.
5) Slippery slope for Russian sport
In news that may not please The Donald, the Russian city of Sochi has lost the rights to the 2017 bobsleigh and skeleton World Championships. Ongoing accusations of widespread, state-sponsored sports doping by Russia lead to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation announcing that it would not be “prudent” to hold the event in the 2014 Winter Olympics host city.
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The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. SB is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.