Toppo’s Top Tens – Late Goals

‘One man’s pain is another man’s pleasure.’

Never have those words been truer than when describing the feelings late goals conjure for fans, players and managers. Whether it’s an equaliser on a cold, rainy Tuesday night away at Grimsby or the winning goal scored with the last kick of a cup final, the triumphant team and its followers are in ecstasy while fans of their opponents curse and slump back in their seats in dejection.

Following Ji-Sung Park’s strike against Wolves which secured yet another late late victory for Manchester United at the weekend, this week’s Top Ten pays homage to unforgettable late goals from down the years – and not all have come in the 17th minute of injury time at Old Trafford.

The goals selected here came in the final moments of matches and changed the outlook of them for the teams involved. Football provides great entertainment and for those fans who leave a few minutes early to beat the traffic, here are ten reasons why you shouldn’t.

10. Michael Owen – MANCHESTER UNITED v Manchester City, Premier League 2009

A dramatic ending to one of the most thrilling Manchester derbies in years, with money bags City fresh from a £200 million pound spending spree attempting to finally shake off years of being in the shadow of their more successful neighbours.

Ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen had a frosty reception upon arriving at Old Trafford for obvious reasons, but he won over the United faithful with this 96th minute goal to seal a 4-3 win. Here’s hoping for more when the two next meet.

9. Paul Dickov – Gillingham v MANCHESTER CITY, Second Division Play-Off Final 1999

It gets better for City fans however. The Football League Play-Offs have been a regular source for dramatic moments, none more so than this one at Wembley. City had been relegated to the 3rd tier for the first time in their history the year before and were looking for an immediate promotion.

However it was all going wrong in the play-off final against Tony Pulis’ Gillingham team who were 2-0 ahead with 89 minutes gone. Kevin Horlock scored what looked like a late consolation, until Dickov’s 94th minute leveller. City went on to win in a penalty shootout – who knows where they’d be now had this goal not gone in?

8. Steven Gerrard – LIVERPOOL vs Olympiakos, Champions League Group Stages 2005

We’ve lost count of the amount of times Liverpool’s captain has turned a game on its head for his club. The late 2006 FA Cup Final equaliser against West Ham deserves a mention, but is closely beaten by this strike.

After an indifferent group stage, Liverpool needed to beat Olympiakos by two clear goals in their final game to progress to the knockout stages.  2-1 up with a minute to go, they were heading out until Neil Mellor’s header fell to the boot of Gerrard 25 yards from goal. Andy Gray’s reaction says it all and Liverpool went on to win the trophy.

7. Andres Iniesta – Chelsea v BARCELONA, Champions League Semi-Final second leg 2009

One of the finest midfielders in world football and the man who broke Chelsea hearts with this effort two minutes into stoppage time at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had earned a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp in the first leg and were leading 1-0 in the second through Michael Essien’s volley. An already dramatic game took one final twist as Iniesta’s 93rd minute shot knocked the Blues out on away goals. Cue scenes of wild celebration from the Barca bench and Didier Drogba’s foul-mouthed rant.

6. Ivan Klasnic and Semih Senturk – CROATIA v TURKEY, Euro 2008 Quarter-Final

Two goals in one here from the last European Championships where a dull quarter-final suddenly came to life in the last minute of extra time. In the 119th minute Ivan Klasnic scored to seemingly put Croatia into the semis as coach Slaven Bilic and his players rejoiced on the pitch. Their jubilance was shortlived however as with one final attack, Turkey’s Semih Senturk equalised. The Croats looked a beaten team, and they were in the subsequent penalty shootout.

5. Dennis Bergkamp – HOLLAND v Argentina, World Cup Quarter-Final 1998

After the way Argentina dumped England out of the tournament in the second round, we were all rooting for the Dutch in this one. Goals from Patrick Kluivert and Claudio Lopez meant the score was 1-1 as extra time loomed – then Bergkamp produced a moment of individual brilliance. He brought down Frank De Boer’s 50 yard pass, flicked the ball through the legs of Roberto Ayala, the Argentinian defender, before firing it into the net. The Dutch were through thanks to one of the goals of the tournament.

4. David Beckham – ENGLAND v Greece, World Cup Qualifier 2001

David Beckham has worn the Three Lions 115 times, but few of his England performances matched this one. In their final qualifying match England needed a point to guarantee qualification for the 2002 World Cup but with 93 minutes on the clock they were 2-1 down to Greece and heading for the play-offs.

England won a free kick 30 yards out and Beckham’s set piece potency came to the fore as with one swing of his right foot, England were going to Japan and South Korea. The roof came off Old Trafford and Englishmen up and down the country celebrated what was a truly magical moment.

3. Michael Thomas – Liverpool v ARSENAL, League Division One 1989

If you’re going to win a league championship, this is how to do it. It’s very rare the top two teams in the league meet in the final match of the season in a title decider, but that’s exactly what happened in 1989. George Graham’s Arsenal travelled to Fortress Anfield needing to win by two clear goals to snatch the title from Liverpool’s grasp. Being the dominant force in English football back then, Kenny Dalglish’s men were overwhelming favourites to finish top.

As the game entered stoppage time the Gunners were leading 1-0 but it wasn’t enough. Liverpool were in possession in Arsenal’s half but a poor cross from their winger John Barnes was collected by John Lukic. The Arsenal man threw the ball to Lee Dixon who hit it long toward Alan Smith, he found Thomas and the rest….as they say, is history.

2. Jimmy Glass – CARLISLE UNITED v Plymouth Argyle, League Division Three 1999

Proof that final minute drama isn’t reserved for the highest levels of football, it can happen anywhere and still be as enthralling. This goal came with the last kick of the game, kept one team in the Football League, relegated another and was scored by a goalkeeper.

Going into the final match of the 1998-99 season Carlisle United were bottom of the Football League, facing relegation to the Conference and financial ruin. A point behind nearest rivals Scarborough, things were not looking good.

Scarborough’s game ended 1-1 as Carlisle’s match against Plymouth (also at 1-1) entered the fourth minute of injury time. Needing a goal, Carlisle’s goalkeeper Jimmy Glass, on loan from Swindon Town, went up for a corner. Incredibly the ball fell to him in the box and he slammed it home to maintain Carlisle’s league status. Unbelieveable Jeff.

1: Ole Gunnar Solksjaer – MANCHESTER UNITED v Bayern Munich, Champions League Final 1999

Given the circumstance and manner of this goal, it has to be number one. In 1999 for the first time in 14 years an English club was in the European Cup final, with Manchester United facing German side Bayern Munich.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men fell behind in the sixth minute to Mario Basler’s free kick and struggled to get back into the game, however Bayern hit the woodwork twice so United were still in with a chance – how they took it. After Bayern failed to clear a corner, Teddy Sheringham equalised 30 seconds into stoppage time and United’s treble was still on, but more drama was to follow.

Goal poacher and super sub Solskjaer won another corner a minute later. David Beckham bent it into the box, it was flicked on by Sheringham and Solskjaer stuck his leg out to divert it into the top corner of the net, clinching United’s first European Cup since 1968 and making them the first English side to complete the treble.

Neutral fans complain that Manchester United seem to win everything – but you can’t begrudge them this trophy – thanks to possibly the most dramatic last minute goal you’ll ever see.

Get in touch at www.twitter.com/optajokepodcast or www.twitter.com/steven_toplis with your own memorable last minute goals.

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