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Ranked! The 10 best Europa League goals since its inception

Dempsey Juventus goal

Bicycle kicks, rabonas and the competition’s most perfectly executed chip all have a place in Nick Miller’s countdown of the greatest Thursday night strikes since 2009/10

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10. Jonathan Soriano (Red Bull Salzburg vs Ajax, 2013/14)

Red Bull Salzburg were already 2-0 up against Ajax in this game (Sadio Mané scored one of the other goals), strutting towards a comfortable second-round win. So Jonathan Soriano decided to improvise.

It’s sometimes easy to think that goals from way, way out are lucky; that any footballer could try it and from that point, fortune decides whether it goes in. But that doesn’t make them any less satisfying – or aesthetically pleasing. This goal was both, the intersection between confidence/arrogance and a clean strike of the ball, leaving Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen circling underneath it and looking very silly indeed.

9. Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli vs Legia Warsaw, 2015/16)

Napoli’s brilliant football is not a new thing. They’ve been slicing and dicing teams for years, and one opponent on the receiving end were Legia Warsaw in an otherwise-routine group stage win back in 2015.

There’s a lovely rhythm to this goal; a sweeping team move from penalty area to penalty area that essentially only involved two players speeding down the left, exchanging flicks and passes until Omar El Kaddouri fed Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentine striker then swept home a brilliant shot from outside the box.

8. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal vs Red Star Belgrade, 2017/18)

Poor old Olivier Giroud. He really was a very good goalscorer for Arsenal over the years, and what’s more he managed an alarming number of spectacular strikes too. The scorpion kick against Crystal Palace, for one, and this absolute beauty to liven up an otherwise fairly staid group game in Belgrade in 2017.

Giroud finished off a flowing team move with a brilliantly hooked overhead kick. “I was a little bit lucky because it was top corner, back of the net,” said Giroud afterwards. Luck or no luck, this was a delightful goal.

7. Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao, 2011/12)

For a couple of years, the Europa League belonged to Falcao. In 2011, he scored the winner in the final for Porto as they beat Braga, then a year later he was Atletico Madrid’s main man in their victory over Athletic Bilbao.

This was probably the peak of Falcao, in his third of four consecutive 30+ goal seasons, and two of them came in this final. Both were brilliant strikes but it’s the first that gets the nod in this list, a glorious combination of poise, control and power as the Colombian spun near the edge of the box and curled his shot into the top corner.