In football, goals come in various forms. There are spectacular goals, ugly goals, well-worked goals and lucky goals. But every so often, a goal comes along that rejects such prosaic labels. Every so often we get a truly strange and bizarre goal.
Here are the five strangest goals ever scored in football.
#1 Stefan Kiessling and the goal that wasn’t
Stefan Kiessling’s goal for Bayer Leverkusen in a 2-0 win away to Hoffenheim in October 2013 is strange for two reasons. Firstly because it wasn’t actually a goal and secondly because the Hoffenheim players, of whom there must surely have been at least one or two who had seen that the ball hadn’t gone in, reacted as if it was a perfectly legitimate goal.
A corner was played into the area from the left, Kiessling rose and headed the ball into the side netting. He immediately turned away with his head in his hands, annoyed to have missed. But when he looked again, his teammates were celebrating. He seemed befuddled, sure that he had seen the ball go into the side netting but willing to accept reality as it was now being presented.
The truth was that the ball had hit the side netting but that due to some loose stringing it made its way straight through into the back of the net, misleading the referee into thinking that it had found its way there legally. The goal was given.
In the aftermath of the match, among the mud-slinging back and forth, it was the push for goal-line technology that emerged triumphant.
#2 Jeroen Zoet’s own goal for PSV vs. Feyenoord
The merits of extending the technological assistance available to referees continue to be debated but there are surely few who would argue against the use of goal-line technology. Apart, perhaps from PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper, Jeroen Zoet.
You see, were it not for goal-line technology, Zoet would probably have got away with his embarrassing and bizarre own goal that saw PSV fall to a 2-1 defeat away to fellow title contenders Feyenoord in February of this year.
Zoet had done the hard part, stopping Jan-Arie van der Heijden’s header on the line. But as he got up from his prone position, he pulled the ball back into his chest. A natural reflex perhaps, but one that resulted in him taking it over the line and thus conceding an 82nd-minute winner.
#3 The curl of the wind
The preliminary round FA Cup tie between Guernsey and Thamesmead in August 2016 was notable for two reasons. Firstly, because Thamesmead’s two goals in a 2-0 victory were the first FA Cup goals ever to be have been scored off of the British mainland and secondly because the second was a goal that proved the strong influence climatic conditions can wield.
When Scott Kinch let fly with an ambitious long-range effort he probably had visions of glory in his head. He was imagining the ball nestling in the top corner and earning him and his team a brief spot on the evening news.
Instead, his terrible shot proved to be a wonderful assist. As it flew towards the corner flag, it was caught by a strong gust of wind, which dragged the ball back from the outskirts of the pitch towards goal. A teammate’s header came off the crossbar before Jack Mahoney pounced to prod home the rebound and see Thamesmead through to the next round.
#4 Darren Bent’s beach ball goal
Darren Bent needed little help scoring goals during the 2009-10 season. By the end of the campaign, he had scored 24 times for Sunderland following two relatively disappointing seasons at Tottenham Hotspur. But help is exactly what he got from an unexpected source in Sunderland’s 1-0 win at home to Liverpool in early October 2009.
A low, right-wing cross made its way past forwards and defenders alike in the centre of the area, leaving Bent free to fire in a first-time effort on goal. It was a good strike but one that Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina looked to have covered. However, as a defender tried to block it, the ball ricocheted off a beach ball that had been thrown onto the pitch, leaving Reina stranded as it flew past him into the net.
It was perhaps the best example in the history of football of a foreign, inanimate object playing a key role in a goal.
#5 The tackle that became a goal
It is traditionally Sunday afternoon amateur football in England that is considered the apogee of mud and bluster, but it is to the Italian lower leagues we go for the best tackle to became a goal in the history of the sport.
The setting was the Santa Croce sull’Arno stadium in Tuscany and the protagonist was Domenico Zampaglione, a midfielder for the visiting Lamezia team. As the ball fell loose well inside his own half he launched himself into a full-blooded sliding challenge, won the ball and then watched on in awe as the wind picked it up and sent it flying past the Tuttocuoio goalkeeper and in for a strange and spectacular strike.