Source: West Coast Goalkeeping via Facebook
Scoring an own goal in soccer can often be humiliating and unavoidable, but it can also be hilarious for everyone apart from the player in question. Here is an attempt to categorize that hilarity, with special mentions for some of the most sublime ways to guide a ball into your own net.
1. The Unfortunate Deflection
The most common type of own goal is the result of a wayward shot unwittingly guided into the net by a despairing defender. On occasion, that defender will unwittingly guide it with their face, but for the most part, this type of own goal is a blameless and forgettable affair.
2. The Striker’s Finish
Human instinct dictates that when you see a loose ball, your first inclination is to smash it as hard as possible towards a goal. When you’re a defender, this can be a hazardous desire. The most auspicious moment of Santiago Vergini’s time at EPL side Sunderland is when he arrived in the box to perfectly volley into the corner of his net. Vergini is outdone by Milan Gajic of Young Boys in Switzerland, however, as you can see in the clip below. Gajic, frustrated by St Gallen’s attempts to control the ball, decides to show them how it’s done with a thumping finish.
3. The Misplaced Pass
This may sound like the most innocuous category, but it features some of the most aesthetically pleasing own goals. Lee Dixon’s attempted back-pass for Arsenal which resulted in lobbing the hapless goalkeeper from 40 yards is sensationally bad. But when it comes to individuality, Sammy Ndjock of Minnesota United trumps them all. A Cameroonian international, his national team has enjoyed recent success with their African Cup of Nations victory, and in terms of international football betting their odds of 400/1 to win the next World Cup are attractive. If they are to be the first African team to win the World Cup, it’ll be handy to have a goalkeeper who doesn’t throw the ball into his own net.
4. The Wild Swipe
Sometimes, defenders do try to clear the ball with a no-nonsense hoof upfield, and sometimes it ends up in their net anyway. Vincent Kompany’s sliced clearance for Manchester City dropped perfectly in the far corner against Fulham in 2013, much to the delight of Fulham and Manchester United fans everywhere.
5. The Unnecessarily Acrobatic
This is perhaps the most difficult category to comprehend. There are simple ways to clear a ball, from heading it out to belting it downfield. Sometimes defenders elect to pirouette and flip in an attempt to clear a ball. This is not advisable. Djimi Traore’s backheel for Liverpool is one of the more iconic own goals, but Festus Baise, then of Citizen in Hong Kong, outdoes him in terms of difficulty. There’s a time and place to deploy a scorpion kick, and that time is never when you’re a centre-back trying to defend a cross.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, because every day somewhere a footballer will be discovering a new and ridiculous way to score into his own net.