Top 10 own goals walloped in from outside the box
OTP not only likes to have a good laugh at monumental bloopers, we like to deconstruct the inadvertent art and beauty that goes in to them. Even before Jamie Carragher was born, own goals were a key construct of the game and can be assessed on their technical difficulty, match-context and aesthetic quality.
Inspired by Darren Pratley’s ambitious 25-yard own goal attempt on Saturday, we have amassed a list that ticks one hugely desirable category in particular – distance. The following list of 10 o.g’s are all scored from outside the 18 yard box.
1. Lee Dixon – Arsenal vs Coventry (1991)
Back in 1991, it was decidedly tricky to bag a goal against the Gunners at home. The much lauded back four marshalled by Tony Adams had more clean sheets than an efficient launderette. But there was little they could do about this wonder own goal from Lee Dixon. The sheer panache with which the right-back clips the ball over David Seaman’s head is a delight to behold. A solid template for Nayim to build upon four years later. Arsenal returned fire with six goals of their own, but only one will ever be remembered.
2. Stefano Morrone – Parma vs Juventus (2008)
Long distance own goals are rare. Long distance headed own goals are even more scarce and so we thank Parma’s Stefano Marone for his generous contribution back in 2008. In a bid to cut-out Tiago’s powerful cross, Morrone bravely put his bonce in the line of fire. As our luck would have it, the ball pinged off the Italian’s head and floated majestically over his keeper. The deflection secured Juventus a 3-0 victory on the night and cemented Morrone as a trailblazer for cranium-based clangers.
3. Gary Neville – England vs Croatia (2006)
Paul Robinson unfairly gets all the credit for his air-shot role in this butt-clenching own goal. But most of the praise should be directed at Gary Neville for hitting a mischievous divot with pin-point precision. It has to be the most memorable own goal ever scored in an England shirt and was a merciful piece of mirth in an otherwise colossally miserable Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
4. Franck Queudrue – Lens vs Bastia (1999)
OTP has never stood up and applauded a clip before but this one pushed us mighty close. Here is Franck Queudrue in the late 1990s before his move to Middlesbrough and it was this seismic strike that probably seduced the Premier League to sign the Frenchman. With the ball bouncing around 40 yards from his goal, Franck had the best of intentions with his clearance. Things didn’t quite go to plan as the defender inexplicably fired a ferocious looping missile in to the net. Lens may have lost that day, but the real loser was the law of physics. A video that demands a repeated viewing.
5. Mike Elwood – Waterford United vs Mervue United (2010)
When your face has scored an own goal from 30 yards out you know you have taken part in a memorable, albeit painful, comedy of errors. That was very much the case as Irish side Mervue United shipped an own goal for the ages. Mervue’s Mike Elwood was happily minding his own business as a ball floated towards his goal. That was until a teammate’s no-nonsense clearance left Elwood quite literally gobsmacked as the ball pounded his face and ballooned over the keeper. It’s up there with landing on the moon and JFK’s assassination – everyone will remember where they were when they first saw this. It helped Waterford on their way to a 3-0 victory.
6. Inigo Martinez – Spain U21 vs Georgia U21 (2011)
At last, we have an entry that smoulders with flamboyance. With Spain 6-0 up in this Euro qualifier, it’s only understandable that the players would fall into exhibition mode and throw in a few exotic touches. Step forward Inigo Martinez, who showed both flair and invention as he met a booming goal-kick with a pirouetting back-heel flick. The ball, keen to be part of something unforgettable, dutifully proceeded to loop over David De Gea’s head. Many would say he couldn’t do that again if he tried, although such was its beauty, we are pretty sure he would try his damned hardest.
7. Carl Jenkinson – Arsenal vs FC Koln (2011)
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so Lee Dixon should be pretty proud of Carl Jenkinson’s lobbed effort. In fact, Jenkinson’s stunner wins extra points for sheer technical skill. Pundits always save their highest praise for a volleyed goal and we will be no different here. As an optimistic ball floats over the back four, Jenkinson has a series of mundane options to take: a calm first touch, a rolled backpass, perhaps? Not so. This was one of Carl’s first games for the Gunners and he was determined to make it a memorable one, meeting the cross with a cultured side-foot that landed inch-perfect under the cross bar. If OTP had to watch one clip on its death bed, we would mutter ‘Carl Jenkinson’ without hesitation.
8. Cha Du-Ri – Celtic vs Rennes (2011)
So far a few of our long range hall-of-famers can claim pressuring opposition for their honourable howlers. This is very much not the case for South Korean international Cha Du-Ri in this Europa League tie. In an acre of space and shadowing a scuttling ball towards his keeper, the Celtic player just needs to tickle it back to safety. Instead he channels the spirit of Thierry Henry, opens his body up and cooly slots the ball beside keeper Fraser Forster. We are pretty sure Forster could have recovered the ball in time but thankfully he joined us in an armchair view of the silky smooth strike rolling in to the onion bag.
9. Frank Sinclair – Leicester City vs Middlesborough (2002)
More of the same here as Leicester’s Frank Sinclair refuses to bow down to the ‘look where you are passing rule’. If it’s good enough for Ronaldinho to do a ‘no look’ pass, then it’s more than good enough for Frank. Under less pressure than a crane lifting up a bag of Maltesers, Frank side foots the ball nonchalantly past king of the hair-curtain, Ian Walker.
10. Keith Weller – Leicester City vs Luton (1975)
We end with a comic blast from the past, as we savour the best long distance own goal from a tight angle. That hallowed title goes to Leicester City’s Keith Weller. Caught defending in the last third, hugging the touchline and not hamstrung by a backpass rule, Weller took the option of caressing the ball back to his keeper. Happily, the midfielder spiced things up by curling a measured strike in to the bottom right hand corner. The keeper is left sprawling, defeated but ultimately chuffed to have been a witness to such a exquisitely executed balls-up.