Posts Tagged Austin Okocha

My Most Memorable Soccer Goals

I got thinking recently about the goals that make top of the pops these days and I feel it’s been long people actually saw sublime goals being scored by players of equal quality, which is why I need your opinion on the following goals I’ll describe…

In no particular order, there are quite a number of goals here and a few more that should be added but there’s only a lot my memory can muster up for the time being. By the way, conspicously missing is Lionel Messi (so that I won’t be crucified at the end of this so here goes)

Goal 1: Mario Stanic vs. ??? (Premier League)

Can’t remember who Chelsea was playing against but it was at Stamford Bridge and Stanic was midway through the opponent’s half. This Croatian juggled the ball three times before unleashing a very cool shot to score the only goal of that match (if memory serves me right. I remember the goal very well though!)

Goal 2: Dennis Bergkamp vs Argentina (France ’98)

Bergkamp’s my favourite footballer of the ’90s and Arsenal player of all time and his goal against the Argentines in the quarterfinal of the ’98 World Cup also ranks as one of the greatest. A long ball from well inside the Dutch half by Marc Overmars (that shortie) was immaculately controlled by bergkamp, his second touch beat an onrushing defender before; from a tight angle, beat the goalkeeper with his third touch of the ball.

Bergkamp scores against Argentina in France '98

Bergkamp scores against Argentina in France '98

Bergkamp would go on to score an identical goal against Leicester City for Arsenal about a season later; but I’m not sure the long pass in came from Overmars that time lol.

Goal 3: Dennis Bergkamp vs. Newcastle United (Premier League)

He’s the only player that appears twice on this list. In this match, it’s the usual pass into the opponents area by Arsenal but when Bergkamp gets the ball in the “D”, a deft touch takes the ball past the defender’s right side while he goes on the poor guy’s left side, leaving that defender totally lost, before getting the ball past Shay Given, pure genius!

Goal 4: Diego Maradona vs. England (Mexico ’86)

I actually think Diego’s a better player than Pele (but Pele get’s the morality nod and ultimately the main prize because of…of all things…drug use!). Anyway, I’m not talking about the (in)famous Hand of God, it’s the other one, you know, the one Diego dribbles some five-six Three Lions players, does a one-two with God knows who and rounds the goalkeeper to score from a tight angle.

At this point, you’ll have an idea of where I’m going. These days, best goals are the ones that are shot at 100 miles an hour (Taiye Taiwo, Andriy Arshavin, Paul Scholes) but me thinks the art in scoring those goals should be appreciated and not the adrenaline that flows from the speed or whatever it is guys enjoy from “artificial” goals today. So…

Goal 5: Zinedine Zidane vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Champions League ’02)

Zidane's volley vs Bayer Leverkusen

Zidane's volley vs Bayer Leverkusen


Wow, I really can’t remember a goal so fitting to win a major title as this one was, is and will always be. What makes it even more special, Roberto Carlos’ cross in from the left wing took quite a deflection on its way to Zidane and here’s the thing, body language of Zizou altered a bit but it made the difference…because he struck that volley with the left foot so nicely. No wonder that has been Real Madrid’s last triumph in Europe!

Goal 6: Henrik Larsson vs. Bulgaria (Euro ’04 group stage)

Speaking of body language, there are a few strikers who know their body oh so well that when a cross comes in from the left wing, the ball is a bit ahead of the Swedish legend so Larsson makes a full body dive and puts both arms on his sides to propel him further in his flight…the header had only one destination afterwards. Larsson’s one of my top 10 all time best footballers, a list that sees Filippo Inzaghi come in at 10; for obvious reasons!

Henrik Larsson heads in against Bulgaria in Euor '04

Henrik Larsson heads in against Bulgaria in Euor '04


Goal 7: Steve Mcmanaman vs. Valencia (Champions League ’00)

I really felt sorry for los Che that night so I didn’t include Raul’s goal in that match but Mcmanaman’s goal; a scissor kick past Santiago Canizares, just couldn’t be overlooked. The technique of the goal was the first I saw of its kind, Gustavo Poyet would later score a similar goal but from closer to goal and with the ball coming in a more comfortable position for the Chilean. Mcmanaman’s goal came from a low cross and he was outside the box, Poyet was inside in his own case.

Goal 8: Thierry Henry vs. Manchester United (Premier League)

All I remember is the ball coming to Igwe, he lifts the ball to go to his left and then unleashes a right foot volley past his marker (Jaap Stam I believe in his black United shirt) and Fabian Barthez in the United goal.

Goal 9: Ryan Giggs vs. Arsenal (FA Cup ’99) 

Martin Keown must always have change of moods when the goal crosses his mind and rightly so. This match had it all, red card, disallowed (but legitimate) goal, saved penalty (Schiemichael did one on Bergkamp) and finally that goal, from midfield, Giggs dribbles four Arsenal players (Keown’s left worse off) before smashing past David Seaman.

Ryan Giggs' goal leaves Tony Adams sprawling

Ryan Giggs' goal leaves Tony Adams sprawling


Goal 10: Francesco Totti vs. Holland (Euro 2000 semi-final penalties)

Holland should have won this match, two penalties lost during the match and extra time as well as hitting the post twice, yet the Azurris had a game plan to soak up the pressure from the Dutch who had thrashed Serbia 6-1 in the previous match. So in penalties, Holland were so fagged out but the Italians were just putting them in and just to mock the Oranje nation, Totti ran up against Edwin van Der Sar and simply chipped down the middle…the look on van Der Sar’s face, you’d pity Holland that night.

And there have been way more goals scored in exquisite fashion such as Austin Okocha’s farce against the Bayern Munich defence in his days at Eintracht Frankfurt, Nwankwo Kanu’s third against Chelsea for Arsenal, Robin van Persie’s “kung-fu” kick goal against Charlton Athletic, Fernando Torres’ strike very recently against Blackburn Rovers, even “Kiko” Macheda’s first goal for Manchester United against Aston Villa.

Meanwhile, for those who read my Defining Moment note, please take a look at the Premier League table after the games of Tuesday (Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal) and Wednesday (Manchester United 1-0 Portsmouth, Chelsea 0-0 Everton)!

Finally, click the link below to enjoy Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s insane goal for AFC Ajax back in the days, pure classic…

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