Top 10 most ludicrous disallowed goals
QPR’s Clint Hill starts the week haunted by the ‘ghost goal’ he scored against Bolton at the weekend. With the game on a knife-edge at 0-0, Hill awaiting his very first Premier League goal and relegation-bound QPR desperate for points, the disallowed strike could not have been a much more painful experience.
On the upside, he joins an elite group of players well and truly robbed of a legitimate goal – all victims of horrific decisions, abysmal non-decisions and the ever-infuriating absence of video technology in the game. OTP hopes that the following list will let Clint know that he is not alone at this sensitive time of great anger and upset.
1. Frank Lampard, England vs Germany (2010)
Despite being taken apart like warm tender chicken from the bone, England actually had a sniff of competing in this 2010 World Cup second round game. Alas, Frank Lampard’s 20 yard strike was not awarded and that will serve him right for rocketing the ball a mere one metre behind the goalline. The backlash should have been ferocious and the English media should have done what they do best and attempt to extradite a woeful referee to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. But given the completely vacant performance the Three Lions slopped on the plate, a shrug of the shoulders was as riled as many got.
2. Pedro Mendes, Tottenham vs Manchester United (2005)
In 2005, Roy Carroll provided us with the biggest spill that didn’t involve a BP oil rig. After spotting the calamitous keeper off his line, longe-range aficionado Pedro Mendes belted a ball under the crossbar from a good 50 metres out. To his credit, Carroll recovered his ground and all was looking good until the Northern Irishman launched the ball over his shoulder like a clumsy first-time father winding his baby. The ball landed a good yard over the line before Carroll scooped the ball to safety. Only a violent fit of giggles can explain why the linesman missed the goal that never was.
3. Jonathan Howard, Chesterfield vs Middlesborough (1997)
We often mock the ‘magic’ of the cup, simply because the tricks aren’t quite as special and bamboozling as they used to be. Chesterfield’s unbelievable 1997 FA Cup run was a pleasing aberration, offering up more magic than the old water in to wine trick that was doing the rounds a few thousand years back. Find themselves 2-1 up in the semi-final against Middlesborough, the third division outfield seemingly finalised a monumental upset with Jonathan Howard’s strike. The close-range shot cannoned off the bar and quite clearly landed behind the goal line. The ref – perhaps blinded by Fabrizio Ravnelli’s pure white hair crop – completely missed it. A 3-3 result that day was followed up by a 3-0 thrashing of the plucky underdogs in the replay at Hillsborough.
4. Freddie Sears, Crystal Palace vs Bristol City (2009)
Back in August 2009, little Freddie Sears was the source of perhaps the most highly-publicised ‘ghost goal’ ever. On loan from West Ham United, Sears quickly got off the mark for his new team by burying a strike in to the goal. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t stay buried and pinged off the goal stanchion and back out into play. Referee Rob Shoebridge bizarrely waved play on, assuming the ball had ricocheted off the post. The inept Shoebridge must have been slightly miffed that Sears was mobbed by his teammates for hitting the woodwork. When Bristol City proceeded to score a last minute winner, the then Palace manager Neil Warnock launched an eruption of fury so big it was reportedly visible from space. You could certainly say the disappointment had a negative effect on Sears’ confidence – he didn’t score again until New Year’s Day 2011.
5. Paddy Connolly, Dundee United vs Partick Thistle (1993)
More stanchion action here and a chance to see big Duncan Ferguson in his early years as some inexplicable goal-robbery occurred north of the border back in 1993. United poacher Paddy Connolly neatly volleyed a goal in to the net but had the misfortune of hammering against the goal support. Referree Les Mottram waved play on. It was a decision made all the more remarkable when you notice that a Thistle defender picks the ball up in a clear recognition of a goal being scored. But laid back Les lets that blatant handball go too and play resumes. We all like to see an official let the game flow, but this takes the biscuit. Call us cob-webbed traditionalists, but OTP feels quite strongly about stopping the play when goals are scored and when players catch the ball with their hands.
6. Sulley Muntari, AC Milan vs Juventus (2012)
While some disallowed goals can prove ultimately irrelevant to a match result, others can play a huge role in the race for a league title. That may well turn out to be the case in Serie A this year. Italian giants Juventus and AC Milan are currently scrapping it out at the top of the league and drew 1-1 amidst great controversy two weeks ago. A goal to the good and dominating play, three points looked in the bag for AC when Sulley Muntari nodded a close-range header over the goal line. Unfortunately, Buffon’s tentacles flung the ball back out in to play and the ref was none the wiser. As cruel fate dictated, The Old Lady went on to grab an equaliser. It’s enraging stuff but at least the first five seconds of the clip – featuring some delightful Mediterranean guitar plucking – will smooth over the tensions in no time.
7. Fran Fandino, Alondras vs Pontevedra (2011)
You know when you see assistant referees checking the net at the start of a match with a fine toothcomb? Well, some clearly don’t bother at all. We are in the bottom rungs of the Spanish football leagues this time and Alondras’ Fran Fandino has just executed a delightful looping header in to the top corner. Oddly the ball doesn’t bulge in the net, instead it’s left bouncing around the empty terrace. Once more the celebrating players are of minimal consequence in the referee’s mind. Flummoxed by the balls post-goal movement, the official gives a goal kick. Alondras needed that like a hole in the net, with Pontevedra going on to grab a 1-0 victory.
8. Emerson, Gremio vs Marilla (2011)
More hole in the net mayhem now as we travel to Brazil for a youth team match-up. Emerson – unfortunately not the former Middlesbrough legend – steps up to take a penalty and launches one of the best you are ever likely to see. Splattered in the side-netting, it’s so powerful it bursts through the goal and travels to the back of the stadium. This time we have even more incontrovertible proof that a goal was scored – the commentator gives it a full “Gooooooooool”. Unfortunately, the ref Antonio Zampieri couldn’t hear that and interpreted Emerson’s attempt as an abysmal swing and a miss. Again, we would love to know why the official thinks a player would celebrate a missed penalty with a joyous point to the crowd and big bear hug with a fan.
9. Don Hutchinson, Everton vs Liverpool (1999)
Graham Poll often divides opinion and upon this Merseyside derby back in 1999, Poll divided logic and common sense to provide perhaps the most controversial last few seconds of a Premier League game. With the fiery game entering injury time and the teams deadlocked at 0-0, Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld belted a goal kick into the back of a retreating Don Hutchison. The ball ballooned off the midfielder and back in to the net. A dramatic winner surely? Not quite. Poll had blown the final whistle upon Westerveld’s kick. The wholly regrettable saga jumps from misfortune to out and out wrath when fans realised that there was still 30 seconds to play. Happily, in retirement Poll accepted he had cocked up and so we can all let bygones be bygones and idiotic refs be idiotic refs.
10. Nicola Berti, Italy vs England (1990)
Just for good measure, we have thrown in a goal disallowed for offside. This isn’t just any regular misjudgement: it is quite possibly the worst offside decision ever made. The year is 1990 and Italy and England are playing out the dying seconds of the oft forgotten World Cup third-place decider. The Italians are 2-1 up and bag a third after a fine sweeping cross is met with an inch-perfect header from Nicola Berti. The linesman intervenes however, flagging Berti offside. Berti isn’t happy at all. Perhaps he was played on by an England defender. Actually, make that four! Yes, the whole England back four were playing poor Berti on side. The Italian forward is still a few metres onside when the ball is sky-high in the air. It is often said that linesman need glasses but this man needs a full MRI scan of his brain-case.
Do you have a favourite ludicrous disallowed goal that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section.