It’s 10 years to the day since arguably the most infamous goal in Premier League history – Darren Bent’s bizarre beach ball strike against Liverpool.
Bent’s attempt was seemingly heading straight for the hands of Pepe Reina, but a beach ball thrown onto the pitch by a Liverpool fan diverted the ball past the Spanish keeper and gave Sunderland a highly controversial 1-0 win.
That goal in October 2009 is still talked about to this day as one of the strangest of all time, but here are 10 more contenders who can lay their claim to that accolade.
#10 – Javier Hernandez, Chelsea vs MANCHESTER UNITED
Every player who pulls on the famous red shirt of Manchester United dreams of scoring on their debut, and the man known as ‘Little Pea’ achieved just that – albeit in strange circumstances.
With United 1-0 up in the 2010 Community Shield, a cross from Antonio Valencia evaded the Chelsea defence and ‘keeper Petr Cech, finding an unmarked Hernandez in the box. The Mexican swung his right foot at the ball, only for him to kick it directly into his face and over the line.
It’s not the way you’d expect someone to score their first goal for a new club, but it was one of many moments that endeared Chicharito to the United faithful and made him a cult hero.
#9 – Mohamed Diame, Brighton vs NEWCASTLE
It was February 2017, and both Brighton and Newcastle were fighting for promotion to the Premier League.
The Seagulls took an early lead through a Glenn Murray penalty and dominated Rafa Benitez’ side for a majority of the game, but a moment of madness brought the Magpies back into the game.
Brighton ‘keeper David Stockdale punched a corner into the path of Christian Atsu, and the Ghanaian’s mishit shot struck the heel of Mo Diame, causing the ball to loop into the net. The goal gave Newcastle the momentum to go on and win the game 2-1 through Ayoze Perez, and they went on to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
#8 – Asmir Begovic, STOKE vs Southampton
The last thing you want to do in a game is concede early and gift the opposition the momentum. Unfortunately for Southampton and Artur Boruc, they didn’t really have a say in the matter.
The ball found its way to Stoke stopper Asmir Begovic right from the Saints’ kick off, and his attempt at a long ball up the field was caught by the strong Autumn wind, causing it to bounce over a helpless Boruc after just 13 seconds.
Begovic was later awarded a Guinness World Record for the longest goal scored in football, from a staggering 91.9 metres.
#7 – Stan Collymore, Blackburn vs LIVERPOOL
The year is 1996. Strong tackles are still a common occurrence, simulation hadn’t yet reached our shores and the pitches were rugged and muddy.
It’s the latter of these points that helped Stan Collymore score one of the Premier League’s most unusual goals. His weak strike was heading straight for the gloves of Tim Flowers, only for the ball to bobble over the Blackburn ‘keeper, who was just as surprised as everyone else. No wonder groundsmen get the praise they do.
#6 – Nani, MANCHESTER UNITED vs Tottenham
With 85 minutes on the clock, Manchester United were 1-0 up (through a perfectly legitimate goal) against Tottenham in the 2010/11 season.
Nani went down in the Tottenham box under pressure from Younes Kaboul, but no foul was given by referee Mark Clattenburg. The Portuguese winger scooped the ball up during his protests, causing Spurs ‘keeper Heurelho Gomes to assume his side had a free kick.
But they didn’t.
As he placed the ball on the ground, Nani appeared. He took a few glances at the referee, and tapped the ball into the net. The goal was given and the Spurs players were irate. However, Clattenburg never blew his whistle after Nani’s handball, so the goal was, somehow, perfectly legal.
#5 – Peter Enckelman (OG), BIRMINGHAM vs Aston Villa
One of the most iconic goals in the history of the Premier League for all the wrong reasons. Unless you’re a Birmingham fan.
With his side already 1-0 down in the Second City derby, Villa’s Olof Mellberg threw the ball towards his goalkeeper Peter Enckelman, expecting the Finnish international to control the ball.
Sadly for the Swede and his side, that did not happen. The ball grazed Enckelman’s foot and rolled into the net to double Birmingham’s lead. Steve Bruce’s side went on to win 3-0, whereas Enckelman’s career never recovered.
#4 – Divock Origi, LIVERPOOL vs Everton
Imagine the scene: after being arguably the better side, Everton are just seconds away from gaining a well-earned point at Anfield against their biggest rivals Liverpool.
A last ditch attempt from Virgil van Dijk goes high into the air and looks to be heading over the bar. Then something practically unexplainable happens. Everton ‘keeper Jordan Pickford reaches out to try and catch the ball, but can only flap at it. It falls back into play and Origi, a forgotten man at Anfield, was there to head home.
Anfield exploded into life, Jurgen Klopp sprinted across the pitch and Pickford was left red faced. A bad day all round for the Toffees.
#3 – Albert Adomah, Leeds vs ASTON VILLA
The strangest thing about this goal isn’t how it happened, but why it happened.
Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia went down after a challenge by Liam Cooper, and it seemed that Leeds would kick the ball out of play. However, as the old saying goes, you play to the whistle. One Tyler Roberts through ball later, Mateusz Klich bent the ball past Jed Steer in the Villa goal.
The goal caused chaos on the pitch and the touchline. The players scuffled and the managers clashed, when Marcelo Bielsa made a decision that many believe impacted his side’s promotion push.
He instructed his players to let Villa walk past them and equalise, and despite some protests from Pontus Jansson, they did just that.
Leeds failed to be promoted automatically and went out via the play-offs, whereas Villa’s late season surge saw them promoted to the Premier League.
Bielsa did win the FIFA Fair Play Award for his decision however, so there’s always a silver lining.
#2 – Stefan Kutschke – Duisburg vs INGOLSTADT
For the last two goals we move to Germany, where goalkeeping errors seem to be rife, judging by the research for this piece.
During the Bundesliga.2 fixture, Duisburg ‘keeper Mark Flekken decided to take a drinks break, a common occurrence during any game. The problem was, he decided the best time to do so was when the opposition were on the attack.
Whilst his teammate was heading the ball back expecting his ‘keeper to claim it, Flekken had his back turned. This allowed Ingolstadt’s Stefan Kutschke to capitalise and tap into an empty net, whilst Flekken could only look on in horror.
#1 – Stefan Kiessling, Hoffenheim vs BAYER LEVERKUSEN
There’s one big reason this goal is top of the list: it isn’t actually a goal.
Leverkusen were 1-0 up away at Hoffenheim in the 2013/14 season when they were awarded a corner. Star striker Steffan Kiessling headed the ball into the side netting, but the referee signalled for a goal.
Replays showed that the ball had gone through a hole in the side netting, which had fooled the ref into thinking Kiessling had scored. Hoffenheim players pleaded their case but due to the lack of VAR and goal-line technology, it was to no avail.
The home side appealed to have the game replayed after they lost 2-1, but their request was turned down by the German Football Federation.
So there it is, the strangest goal of all time: one that never should have stood.