10 of football's most incredible consolation goals: featuring Balotelli, Huntelaar and more
Demarai Gray vs Manchester United
Leicester's tough start to their season as defending Premier League champions continuted in late September 2016 as they visited Old Trafford and were promptly 4-0 down by half-time. A manager's advice in such a situation is often to go out and "win the second half" and if Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri's managed to utter those words inbetween bell noises and suspicious glances at Craig Shakespeare, his players didn't let him down on that score.
Or at least, one player didn't. On 59 minutes, Demarai Gray picked up the ball on the left flank, cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable thunderbolt past David de Gea and into the net. The match duly finished 4-1, but at least Gray's goal added some colour to the afternoon for the away support.
Elano vs Middlesbrough
Manchester City have come a long, long way since May 2008. Younger readers may be surprised to learn that the two-time Premier League champions were once something of a laughing stock, the word ‘City’ automatically associated with throwing away golden opportunities and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
This 8-1 defeat to Middlesbrough on the final day of the 2007/08 campaign was one of the club’s final matches before the Abu Dhabi United Group’s takeover at the start of the following season. As such, the visitors’ starting line-up at the Riverside featured Michael Ball, Darius Vassell and Benjani Mwaruwari rather than Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
Elano was one of Sven Goran-Eriksson's side’s best players that year, and he salvaged a miniscule amount of pride in the 87th minute with a jinking run and terrific drive to cut Middlesbrough’s lead back to 7-1. “We’re gonna win 8-7,” the City fans chimed optimistically, perhaps forgetting that the club most likely to throw away a six-goal lead with three minutes remaining was their own.
Daniele De Rossi vs Manchester United
At the time, a 2-1 victory over United at the Stadio Olimpico looked to have put Roma in a good position heading into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men in April 2007. The Italians, however, were sent back to the peninsula with their tail firmly between their legs after a devastating 7-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
It’s a shame, then, that born-and-bred Roman De Rossi – a midfielder not exactly renowned for his goalscoring – would have taken little joy from this thumping volley that made it 6-1 on the night and 7-3 on aggregate.
At 3:23 here
Benito Carbone vs Blackburn
Carbone is something of a cult hero at Hillsborough for his exploits with Sheffield Wednesday between 1996 and 1999, with the pint-sized Italian netting 25 goals in 96 games. Few were better than this effort against Blackburn in Wednesday’s fourth match of the 1997/98 Premier League season.
Collecting possession 40 yards from goal, Carbone arrowed a dipping shot into the back of the net, the ball satisfyingly kissing the crossbar on its way in. As good as the strike was, it could not inspire a Wednesday comeback, with Roy Hodgson’s outfit running out 7-2 winners at Ewood Park.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar vs Real Madrid
There are some fabulous goals detailed here, but Huntelaar’s is perhaps the best of the lot. Arriving unmarked at the edge of the box, the Schalke centre-forward rifled in a spectacularly sweet volley from 20 yards out, the ball flying past Iker Casillas and landing in the back of the net via the underside of the bar.
As a child, the Dutchman probably dreamt of scoring a goal as good as this against one of European football’s foremost teams. It’s likely that Huntelaar envisaged it being the winner in a Champions League final rather than a late consolation in a 6-1 rout but hey, you can’t have it all.