Mo Salah and the art of the “zero angle” goal
Racing down the right to Jordan Henderson’s long pass, Salah took the ball past the keeper just outside the box, and, with his weaker right foot, curled the ball towards the goal from just outside the box.Updated: Dec 11, 2019 20:48 IST
Liverpool’s Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah gave another glimpse of his genius with a goal from an acute angle in the Champions League win at Salzburg on Tuesday. It was a big goal in a big match—the defending champions needed a draw against Salzburg to make it to the round of 16—Liverpool were leading 1-0, but it was Salah who put the game to rest. Racing down the right to Jordan Henderson’s long pass, Salah took the ball past the keeper just outside the box, and, with his weaker right foot, curled the ball towards the goal from just outside the box. It looked like an improbable angle—the ball was on top of the byline at one point, before bending inwards, bouncing on the pitch, and spinning into the goal.
What made it even more remarkable is that this is the first righ-footed goal Salah has scored from outside the box since he arrived in Europe in 2012.
Here’s a look at some great goals from the past scored from nearly impossivle angles.
Marco van Basten, Netherlands vs USSR, UEFA Euro 1988 final
The Dutch stalwart scored one of the finest goals in Euro history, made more special as it came in the title contest. In the 54th minute, with the Dutch leading, a move down the left saw Arnold Muhren cross. Van Basten, on the right fringes of the penalty box, shuffled to line up a volley from an acute angle that stunned legendary Soviet keeper Rinat Dasayev as it dipped in at the far post.
Dennis Bergkamp, Netherlands v Argentina, 1998 World Cup quarter-final
The Dutch winger arguably scored the goal of the World Cup in France, an 89th minute winner that knocked out the two-time champions. Frank de Boer’s long ball from well inside the Dutch half seemed harmless. Until Bergkamp, running into the right of the penalty area, controlled and switched in, all in one motion, sending marker Roberto Ayala the other way. The third touch was to drill the ball home past goalkeeper Carlos Roa from a tight angle.
Nani, Manchester United vs Arsenal, 2009-10
Nani’s double somersault goal celebrations were an event unto themselves, but the Portuguese was equally well-known for his flamboyant goals for Manchester United at their pomp. His audacity is perfectly exemplified by the goal he created and executed against Arsenal in 2009-10. Racing down the right wing, the winger dribbled through two defenders and then side-stepped a third defender in the box before scoring with a casual chip from the byline.
Roberto Carlos, Real Madrid v Tenerife, 1997-98
The Brazil and Real Madrid wingback saw defending as a chore. His high entertainment value lay in ‘Bending It Like Carlos’. The best of his “zero angle shots” came in the 1997-98 Copa de Ray against Tenerife. Carlos ran to the left touchline to receive a long ball, and beat the goalkeeper with a vicious shot that swerved late to end in the net.