10 of football's most incredible consolation goals: featuring Balotelli, Huntelaar and more

From dazzling strikes at Old Trafford to a halfway line lob in Chile, Greg Lea introduces a handful of other great goals that ultimately counted for nothing...

Darren Fletcher vs Manchester City 

Manchester United aren’t used to being humiliated, but that is exactly what happened when they were thrashed 6-1 by ‘noisy neighbours’ City at Old Trafford in October 2011. Although the home crowd were forced to witness United’s heaviest home defeat in 56 years, they could at least console themselves with Fletcher’s fantastic strike.

With City leading 3-0 in the 81st minute, the midfielder played a neat one-two with Javier Hernandez before curling a fine effort into the top corner of the net. It was a rare bright note on a decidedly dismal day for the Red Devils.

Orlando Da Costa vs Pandurii Targu Jiu

The first thought that springs to mind when watching this goal is: did he really mean it? Only Orlando Da Costa will know the answer to that question, but it would be churlish to refuse him the benefit of the doubt.

Concordia found themselves 3-0 down to Pandurii in a Romanian top-division clash in 2013 when Da Costa smashed the ball past the goalkeeper from a seemingly impossible angle. It's difficult to work out exactly what happened on first viewing, but replays reveal that the Brazilian hit across the ball with the outside of his foot, resulting in a Roberto Carlos-esque bending banana shot that flew into the far corner. Impressive stuff.

Dean Ashton vs Manchester United 

Some may argue that a goal scored as early as the 28th minute can never be classed as a consolation, but given that Ashton’s deficit-reducer came against a United side who rarely dropped points at home and were on route to a second successive league title, its inclusion is probably justified.

West Ham were 3-0 down when the former Norwich City striker beat Edwin van der Sar with one of the best goals of the Premier League season. Wes Brown made a mess of Bobby Zamora’s hopeful pass forward, with Ashton on hand to acrobatically capitalise on the centre-back’s poor header and turn the ball home with a wonderfully executed overhead kick.  

Mario Balotelli vs Napoli 

Balotelli has never been one to roar around the pitch after scoring – “I’m only doing my job… when a postman delivers letters, does he celebrate?” he once asked – but his response to this belter against Napoli was the quintessential consolation goal non-celebration.

With just two minutes left on the clock, Milan were losing 2-0 at San Siro when Balotelli reminded everyone of just how naturally talented he is. M’Baye Niang’s pass was killed dead with a single touch, before another swish of the right boot sent the ball flying past Pepe Reina and into the far corner. Balotelli, satisfied but not overjoyed with his work, simply jogged back to the halfway line.

Javier Elizondo vs Palestino 

The internet has given birth to many wonderful things: quicker forms of communication, a wealth of instantly accessible information on a myriad of different topics, FourFourTwo.com. However the ability to watch endless footage of relatively obscure foreign teams play football is right up there, mainly because in years gone by goals like Elizondo’s against Palestino would not have been witnessed by anybody outside of Chile.

It is with gratitude to the inventors of the World Wide Web, then, that the Antofagasta striker’s lobbing of the Palestino keeper from the halfway line can be enjoyed. It did not quite have the swerve of Charlie Adam's strike against Chelsea or the iconic value of David Beckham's Wimbledon goal, but Elizondo nevertheless deserves a huge amount of credit for the weight of the shot, which only hit the ground after it had crossed the line. The Chilean commentator clearly enjoys it, too.