Top 10 unbelievable Ghost Goals in football history


Frank Lampard’s shot was in but wasn’t given by the linesman at the World CupA Ghost goal or a Phantom goal is a goal that involves uncertainty or controversy surrounding whether the ball has crossed the line or not. Knowing that football is a simple concept, it is therefore also simple that if the ball crosses the goal line, a goal should be awarded for the team scoring it.Ask the referees and all they would say is it is easier said than done. The lack of Goal Line Technology has resulted in memorable ghost goals over the years In most cases, such decisions tend to alter the final result of a match. Take the case of Frank Lampard against Tottenham in the Premier League or the famous Luis Garcia goal which eliminated Chelsea from the Champions League semi-finals.Ghost goals can be classified as ‘The one that was’, ‘The one that wasn’t’, ‘The one that never was’ and ‘The one that never should have been’.We look at 10 ghost goals of all time.

#10 Sulley Muntari: AC Milan vs Juventus - 2012 Serie A

Sulley Muntari made a reputation for himself in Italy for two reasons. One because he is one of few who have represented both Inter Milan and AC Milan. The other? Being included in the list for a controversially disallowed goal.

Title chasers Milan were a goal ahead and were on course to gain a decisive edge in the title race when Muntari nodded a close-range header over the line. Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon scrambled the ball back out, and to the dismay of the celebrating players and fans, the goal was not given.

Reeling under the shocking decision, Milan allowed Juventus to clinch an equalizer and a crucial point in a match that could have proven decisive in the title heading to Turin.


#9 Paddy Connolly: Dundee United vs Partick Thistle - 1993 Scottish Premier League

The Scottish Premier League also had a brush with the ghost goal phenomenon. The referee and the linesman made one of the biggest gaffes the game has ever seen.

From a routine corner kick, United forward Connolly smashed his effort into the net, hammered against the goal support (read the stanchion) and bounced out. A Thistle defender picked up the ball recognizing that the goal had been scored but referee Les Mottram waved to play on.

The ghost goal was missed, and in the process the referee also missed the blatant handball by the defender when he picked up the ball.


#8 Pedro Mendes: Manchester United vs Tottenham - 2005 Premier League

Sir Alex Ferguson had a knack of piling the pressure on the referees and also complaining often about the referees being biased against United. However, the refereeing howler in the match against Tottenham Hotspur begs to differ on this.

Having seen Roy Carroll off the line, Spurs midfielder Mendes belted an astonishing 50-yard effort towards United’s custodian. The Northern Irishman shot stopper (known for his goal keeping howlers) somehow allowed the ball to squirm out of his outstretched hands and over his shoulder.

The ball landed a good yard over the line before Carroll desperately clawed it out again. The linesman failed to notice this and the match was allowed to go on, earning United a crucial point.

This was an absolute mockery to say the least.


#7 Clive Allen: Coventry vs Crystal Palace - 1980 First Division

The curse of the dreaded Stanchion! Just ask Clive Allen and he will tell you all about it.

Having won a free kick just outside the penalty box, Clive Allen stepped up and rifled his shot into the top right hand corner. The powerful effort smashed against the right-hand stanchion before coming out again, leading officials to believe it must have hit the woodwork.

The only saving grace for the referee in this case was the sheer speed of the free kick could have confounded him.


#6 Freddie Sears: Crystal Palace vs Bristol City - 2009 Championship

There is definitely an unearthly relation between the stanchion and Crystal Palace. Unlucky once? Yes. However, that was definitely not the case when Palace found themselves in a controversy, with the goal’s support once again being their nemesis.

Freddie Sears, on loan from West Ham, was looking to impress both his employers. He definitely thought he had when he fired home from close range against Bristol City. Unfortunately for him and Palace, the ball ricocheted off the goal stanchion and back out into play, with referee Rob Shoebridge waving to play on after obviously assuming it had crashed off the post.

Just as against Coventry, Palace went on to lose the match as Bristol City scored a 90th minute winner. Looks like Palace need to find a place for an exorcist in their staff.


#5 Geoff Hurst: England vs Germany - 1966 World Cup Final

Did it? Or did it not? An ongoing debate for many years, England’s tryst with their solitary major international trophy remains shrouded in a moment of controversy. Geoff Hurst’s game changing strike in the 1966 World Cup final against Germany remains one of the most controversial ghost goals ever scored.

Having equalized 2-2 late in normal time, Germans were on the path to change the course of the game in extra time. However, Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst and his linesman, Tofik Bakhramov had other ideas.

With the match evenly poised, Hurst fired a shot that smacked against the underside of the crossbar, rebounded down and bounced back out of the goalmouth. After a brief consultation with the linesman, the referee decided to award the goal which would spur the Three Lions to victory.

This definitely remains one of the major heists at the FIFA World Cup.


#4 John Eustace own-goal: Watford vs Reading - 2008 Championship

One of the most extraordinary goals awarded remains the one where there was no evidence of anyone actually having scored it.

The goal was awarded assuming that the ball had crossed the line but no matter how many times you look at the video there will be two questions asked how and where?

After an attacking spell from the visitors, referee Stuart Atwell and his assistant Nigel Bannister awarded Reading a goal despite the ball crossing the line three yards outside the post.

Yes, that’s right. Three Yards outside the post. With this decision, the FA’s fast-tracked referee Atwell managed to damage whatever little reputation he had.


#3 Stefan Kiessling: Hoffenheim vs Bayer Leverkusen - 2013 Bundesliga

Frantic call for goal line technology in the Bundesliga was definitely intensified by what transpired last year.

Leverkusen were on course for winning the clash against Hoffenheim by a solitary goal when German international striker Stefan Kiessling headed a corner just wide of the goal.

Kiessling was seen with his head in his hands, apparently acknowledging a bad miss, but the ball found its way into the net through a hole in the side netting. This was enough to convince referee Felix Brych to consider it legitimate and, to the dismay of the home team and fans, he awarded the ghost goal.

Even the commentators had erred in their judgment and had called it an excellent goal before the replays. How wrong they were about the phantom goal.


#2 Frank Lampard: England vs Germany - 2010 World Cup

With Germany leading 2-1 against England in the crucial Round of 16 clash, Lampard blasted the ball in from 20 yards with what appeared to be the equalizer. However, his shot hit the crossbar before bouncing over the line.

The referee and the linesman failed to award a legitimate goal prompting anger and outrage from the English players, supporters and the coaching staff. Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda will definitely remain on the hit list of most of the English supporters for this decision.

The Three Lions were ultimately decimated 4-1 and unceremoniously dumped out of the World Cup in South Africa that year.

The ghost goal remains a sweet revenge for the German fans who had to endure the same in 1966.


#1 Luis Garcia: Liverpool vs Chelsea - 2005 Champions League

Luis Garcia remains a Kop legend for his all round ability to create, score and influence matches. He also remains the player that spooked ‘The Special one’ and Chelsea out of the Champions League in the semi-finals.

Four minutes into the game, it was pandemonium as the Reds seized the advantage, albeit with a ghost goal. Milan Baros beat Petr Cech to Steven Gerrard's flick into the box and lifted the ball over the shot stopper before being knocked to the ground.

Luis Garcia then flicked it towards goal as William Gallas ran across to clear it on the goal line. Garcia and his team-mates reeled away in celebration. Although it was unclear on the replays, the linesman felt it was a goal and handed Liverpool the lead.

Even with the benefit of countless television replays, Garcia’s winner remains a source of debate to this date. It surely remains the spookiest goal ever awarded.


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