Toppo’s Top Tens – Open Goal Misses

It is often said that being a striker is the toughest job on the football pitch, the person who has to get the goals which can make the difference in games. The pressure is on them to put the ball into the net on a regular basis so you can understand the responsibility they have – but what about the times they miss the goal when it’s almost impossible not to score?

During Pod 25 the Optajoke team talked about some shocking misses and that is the topic for this week’s top ten – Open Goal Misses. Watch as the culprits wish the ground would open up and swallow them and then….just laugh at them.

10: Ronnie Rosenthal – Aston Villa v LIVERPOOL – Premier League 1992

A classic miss which has been replayed numerous times over the years and never gets better each time you see it.

A long clearance from Liverpool goalie David James was not dealt with by Villa’s defence and the ball bounced into the path of Reds striker Ronnie Rosenthal. The Israeli skipped beyond the goalkeeper and was left with the goal gaping. Unfortunately for ‘Rocket Ronnie’ his left-footed attempt hit the bar from ten yards out and he is forever remembered for an embarassing miss.

9: Jakub Blaszczykowski – Freiburg v BORUSSIA DORTMUND – Bundesliga 2010

An incredible miss from Germany’s top flight thanks to Borussia Dortmund’s Polish winger Jakub Blaszczykowski (nicknamed Kuba) who misses the target in a fashion Rosenthal would be proud of.

Dortmund are on the attack and as the ball is played forward Freiburg’s ‘keeper comes out into no man’s land. The ball is poked across the box into Kuba’s path as he bursts through the middle and in acres of space, he lifts the ball over the bar first time from twelve yards out. Hang your head in shame Kuba!

8: Peter Van Vossen – Celtic v RANGERS – SPL 1996

Dutch international Peter Van Vossen joined Walter Smith’s Rangers side in January 1996 as they were on their way to winning an eighth consecutive Scottish title. He is remembered in Glasgow however for a terrible miss during an Old Firm derby at Celtic Park.

Rangers won a tight game 1-0 but it would’ve been much more comfortable had Van Vossen netted a chance handed to him on a plate. With Celtic’s defence high up the pitch, Rangers got in behind with two players left against the goalkeeper. The ball was squared to Van Vossen who just had to roll the ball home from a few yards out to make the game safe. Instead he manages to put it into the stands and rightfully gets stick from home fans behind the goal.

7: Alan Gatagov – LOKOMOTIV MOSCOW v Gabir – Russian League 2010

During a league match against Gabir, Lokomotiv Moscow had a free kick which was parried away by the goalkeeper which led to a small scramble for the ball in the penalty area. As defenders threw themselves in the way and attackers attempted in vain to score, the ball fell to Alan Gatagov who was presented with the easiest of scoring opportunities. Three yards from goal all he had to do was tap it in – however he shanked the ball high, wide and not at all handsomely off the frame of the goal and out for a goal kick.

6: Chris Iwelumo – SCOTLAND v Norway – World Cup Qualifier 2008

Ah Scotland….in recent years coming so heroically close to qualification for a major tournament, then something like this happens.

During a match against Norway at Hampden Park Chris Iwelumo produced great technique as he managed to miss from three yards out with an open goal at his mercy. Having come on to make his debut as a substitute the striker would’ve dreamt of netting the winner, instead he skewed his golden opportunity wide to the shock of manager George Burley and Scottish fans everywhere. The game finished 0-0 and Iwelumo’s gaffe was dubbed ‘miss of the century’ in Scotland.

5: Kei Kamara – LA Galaxy v KANSAS CITY – MLS 2010

Kei Kamara is a name not well-known to football fans outside of the MLS but he offers up a quite comical miss for Kansas City earlier this year. Following up a shot which came back off the post all he had to do was poke it into the empty net two inches from goal. Incredibly the striker took a swing at the ball, missed and as he fell onto his arse knocked it into the net with his hand. Despite Kamara’s protestations, the referee disallowed the goal, giving a free kick to LA Galaxy.

The match, which ended in a 0-0 draw, didn’t get any better for Kamara. He had another howler when he sent the ball wide from six yards out after meeting a cross at the far post and, in attempting to put away a close-range rebound, Kamara tripped over his own feet and blocked his team-mates attempted follow-up at goal. Not surprisingly he was subsituted soon after. As namesake Chris would describe it – ‘Unbelieveable Jeff!’

4: Rocky Baptiste – HARROW BOROUGH v Waltham Abbey – Ryman League 2009

The name Rocky Baptiste may be familiar to football fans, as he was part of the Havant and Waterlooville team which led 1-0 and 2-1 against Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup in 2008. Still plying his trade in non-league football, Baptiste missed an open goal during a Ryman League game against Waltham Abbey a year later.

During the first half of the match, Baptiste was through on goal and rounded the goalkeeper, presenting him with an empty net. He ran right up to the goal line, before smashing the ball wide of the target from a yard out to the shock of his teammates and spectators. However he did make up for it during the second half, with a fantastic 35 yard dipping volley which flew past Waltham’s goalie. Maybe he’s not that bad after all.

3: Kanu – WEST BROMWICH ALBION v Middlesbrough – Premier League 2004

With West Brom battling against relegation from the Premier League in 2004, they brought back club legend Bryan Robson to save them from the drop. In his first match in charge striker Kanu did himself no favours in trying to impress the new boss.

Geoff Horsfield played the ball across goal where Kanu was stood two yards out waiting to score. Meeting the ball a yard out the Nigerian spooned his effort over the bar and onto the top of the net. Only he knows how he managed to miss the goal. To compound his misery, Middlesbrough went on to win 2-1.

2: Illija Sivonjic – DINAMO ZAGREB v Cibalia – Croatian League 2009

A pretty spectacular miss from the Croatian League, as Dinamo Zagreb’s Illija Sivonjic misses an opportunity from a yard out.

During a top of the table clash against Cibania, striker Sivonjic tried to grab a goal himself as he followed up on an effort from Chilean team-mate Pedro Morales. However as he attempted the tap-in, Sivonjic trod on the ball (which was going in) and prevented it from crossing the line. What a tit.

1: Fahad Khalfan – QATAR v Uzbekistan – Asian Games Quarter Final 2010

Quite possibly the worst miss ever by a professional footballer – it’s been doing the rounds on the internet over the last few weeks and is a deserving number one.

During an Asian Games quarter-final against Uzbekistan, Qatar’s teenage striker Fahad Khalfan pounced on a mistake by the goalkeeper and was left with the simple task of putting the ball into the net. To the bemusement of everyone he dribbles toward the goal and with the outside of his left foot, knocks the ball against the post from two yards out and spurns the chance to put his side 1-0 up.

With all the time in the world it was easier to knock the ball in with his right foot, but for whatever reason he decided to go with the outside of his left and undoubtedly will become the subject of football howler DVD’s for years to come. He was to rue the miss too, as Uzbekistan won 1-0. Just put it in the net Fahad!!

Are there any other memorable glaring misses out there? Get in touch at or

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