The 9 best disallowed goals: Henry's audacity, Balotelli's bicycle and Lampard vs Germany
1. Don Hutchinson vs Liverpool (2000)
The Merseyside derby is a fixture that regularly produces fireworks, but this goalless draw in April 2000 was the exception that proves the rule. Everton thought they'd scored what would have been a dramatic late winner when Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld's free-kick ricocheted off Don Hutchinson’s back and into the empty net, but referee Graham Poll ruled it out after claiming he'd already blown the whistle for full-time. Everton were left irate, and Poll later admitted in his autobiography that he'd got the decision wrong.
2. Frank Lampard vs Germany (2010)
Lampard’s 'goal' came at a crucial point in England’s round of 16 tie against Germany at the 2010 World Cup. The Chelsea midfielder's effort would have tied the scores at 2-2 and swung the momentum in the Three Lions' favour, but instead Fabio Capello's men lost 4-1 and crashed out of the competition. The incident intensified the debate over goalline technology, but even an apology from FIFA president Sepp Blatter couldn't repair a nation’s broken dreams. Anyone else still bitter?
Lampard 'scores' against Germany
3. Peter Schmeichel vs Wimbledon (1997)
The ball was headed on by Gary Pallister and bicycle-kicked into the net by the Danish custodian
There aren’t many things more exciting than seeing a goalkeeper score, especially with as acrobatic an attempt as the one Peter Schmeichel attempted against Wimbledon. Manchester United were trailing 1-0 in their FA Cup fourth round replay with 60 seconds left on the clock, a situation which prompted Schmeichel to go up for a corner.
The ball was headed on by Gary Pallister and bicycle-kicked into the net by the Danish custodian, but the assistant referee's flag cut short the celebrations. Not that Schmeichel was bitter. "I’m very, very disappointed, but the linesman was right. I was offside,” he told FFT in 2003. “And yes, it would have been the greatest goalkeeping goal ever!”
4. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Spain (2010)
Nani couldn't contain his urge to get in on the act, however
Of all the ways to have a wonder goal ruled out, your team-mate trying to steal it must be the most frustrating. Multiple Spanish defenders couldn't halt Cristiano Ronaldo's run in this friendly six years ago, with the Real Madrid striker ending his dribble by scooping the ball over the head of club colleague Iker Casillas.
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However, Nani couldn't contain his urge to get in on the act, popping up at the back stick to nod the ball over the line and then turning to see the linesman raise his flag. Ronaldo, it's safe to say, wasn't best pleased.
Nani earns Ronaldo's wrath
5. Thiago Silva vs Nice (2013)
6. Mario Balotelli vs Cagliari (2013)
Balotelli's proven over the years that he can do crazy things on the pitch as well as off it, with this superb overhead kick just one such example. Unfortunately for Milan, though, the ball had already exited the field of play by the time Balotelli worked his magic, and the Rossoneri were duly denied.
Balotelli's acrobatics count for nothing
7. Kevin Keegan vs Manchester United (1981)
Even in his playing career, Keegan loved to get one over on Manchester United, something he nearly did when Southampton locked horns with the Red Devils in 1981. A magnificent scissor-kick volley flew into the net but was chalked off due to the offside position taken up by team-mate David Armstrong, who redeemed himself by scoring a last-minute winner.
8. Pedro Mendes vs Manchester United (2005)
Carroll's blushes were spared as Tottenham were left to curse their luck
Another lucky escape for Manchester United, this time came against Tottenham in 2005. Spurs midfielder Pedro Mendes' arcing shot from distance was spilled by United goalkeeper Roy Carroll, who desperately sprinted back towards his own goal but could not prevent the ball from crossing the line. None of the match officials noticed, though, and Carroll's blushes were spared as Tottenham were left to curse their luck. It's a good thing the Northern Irishman wore dark coloured shorts that day.
Look away now, Tottenham fans
9. Thierry Henry vs Blackburn (2003) and George Best vs England (1971)
Arsenal legend Henry was responsible for the cheekiest disallowed goal on the list, nicking the ball off Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel and passing it into the net during the Gunners' Invincible season in 2003/04. Referee Alan Wiley assumed the role of chief spoilsport, though, ruling the goal out by claiming that Friedel still had control of the ball.
Henry's inspiration may have come from a similar attempt from George Best in 1971. Gordon Banks was the goalkeeper in question on that occasion and just like Henry, Best poked the ball away from the England shot-stopper's grasp and proceeded to turn it home, only to be denied by the man with the whistle. It may not have been the greatest, but this was certainly the Best disallowed goal.
Best is denied by the referee's whistle
Bonus: John Eustace own goal vs Reading (2008)
It’s easy for referees to disallow goals for an offside or a foul, but it's much harder to award one that didn't go anywhere the net, let alone enter it. Referee Stuart Attwell somehow managed the feat in Watford's clash with Reading in 2008, however: Eustace's header went behind for a corner, but the officials somehow decided that it had beaten the goalkeeper and crossed the goal-line. What on earth were they thinking?