Toni Duggan: How to be a match-winner

Want to become the ultimate finisher? Learn from the Manchester City and England ace as she reveals how she scored some of her greatest goals

Match: Manchester City 2 Chelsea 1 (FA Women's Super League)

More after the break

The moment: Duggan controls a right-wing cross at chest height, swivelling to immediately volley the ball into the far corner, denying Chelsea the title on the final day of the season

How did she do it? "When the winger takes the ball down the line you're always looking for the cutback on the edge of the box. The closer it goes to the byline, that's when you know it's coming back. Jill Scott did well, I'm not sure if the cross was intended for me but it came in chest high and you've got to deal with it. I'm the type of player who is a bit of the cuff so I probably wasn't thinking about what I was going to do until it actually got to me. Then it's about getting the control right because you've got a player coming from in front of you and one behind you. It's about getting a tight touch, which set me up nicely for the shot. I saw the far corner open up and executed it well - it's a difficult skill. I could probably practise that 100 times and two would go in. You've got to get your laces over it and make sure you're keeping it down, with the pace on the ball to beat the keeper. The ball hits the towel in the goal and I said to the girls, jokingly, that I aimed for that!"
 

Match: Manchester City 1 Chelsea 1 (FA Women's Super League)

The moment: Hedvig Lindahl is unable to claim a loose ball and, as the goalkeeper races back into position, Natasha Harding squares for Duggan to fire the ball past three defenders on the line with a shot from the edge of the box

How did she do it? "The keeper is out of her goal so you're looking for the cutback and to get some space on the edge of the area, because the defenders are naturally attracted to the ball. If you just peel off, that can be when the opportunity comes. It looks like an easy finish but with so many bodies on the line you've got to aim for the right spot, make sure no-one is there and make sure you execute it well. You've got to get the pace on the shot and make sure it's on target first and foremost, because then anything can happen. Keep your head over the ball and make sure it doesn't go over the bar. When the ball is coming across you it's quite easy to get it wrong and see it sailing into Row Z. At the time I thought it was only a tap-in but watching it back it was quite difficult because the keeper manages to get back and there are three or four bodies on the line."

Skip to 0:25 to see it
Match: Manchester City 1 Birmingham City 0 (FA Women's Super League)
The moment: Jill Scott bursts down the right flank and fires in a low cross that Duggan is in position to convert from six yards
How did she do it? "As a striker it's important that you're always in the central areas. Sometimes you have to take the defender to the near post to go to the far post, or you have to take them to the back post to get across the goalkeeper. I've lost my marker and Jill Scott cut it across and put it on a plate for me. I just tapped it in. You have to make the decision about where to be. We work on that a lot in training, in different types of areas whether it's going to be a cutback or whether they are going to drill it to the far post, so then the striker knows. With the finish it's just about assessing where the goalkeeper is and putting it into the other side of the goal."

Skip to 0:39 to see it
Match: Bristol Academy 0 Manchester City 3 (FA Women's Super League)
The moment: Demi Stokes cuts in from the left and plays a short pass to Duggan outside the box. Duggan controls and brilliantly curls home into the far corner from 25 yards
How did she do it? "If the play is on one side of the box, naturally the keeper will come to the front post. So I've taken a touch to get it out of my feet and then managed to hit the far corner where the big space is. I'm aiming for that spot between the post and the back of the goal. If you don't get enough power or the right execution, the keeper can easily shuffle across and catch it, but I managed to get the power and catch the keeper out. Not many goalkeepers in the world would save it. Naturally in that situation I'd be facing the opposite touchline so you've got to get that whip on the ball. If I hit it straight it's sailing right over the bar, so you've got to really wrap your foot around it."

Skip to 0:57 to see it
Match: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 2 (FA Women's Super League)
The moment: A Chelsea defender misjudges Daphne Corboz's diagonal pass. Duggan races on to it, controls the ball and lifts the ball across the goalkeeper and into the far corner
How did she do it? "It was a great ball by Daphne, a good switch of play and the defender has helped me because she's out of position. People will talk about the finish but I think the thing that was crucial was the first touch. If that first touch is too strong, the keeper's got it. If it's too far inside, the covering defender's got it. The first touch let me get my shot off early. The goalkeeper left a big space in the far corner so it was just about opening my body up and finding the far corner. I like to go across the goalkeeper, it's harder to execute but there's a much bigger space to aim for. I lifted the ball off the ground because the keeper was crouched down, she was already halfway to the ground so I didn't want to put the ball low. Then I went for the Funky Chicken celebration, I was on Soccer AM that weekend and I promised I'd do it if I scored. I don't know whether I executed the goal or the celebration better!"

Skip to 1:17 to see it
Match: Arsenal 2 Manchester City 3 (FA Women's Super League)

The moment: Duggan is being marked by two defenders on the left corner of the box, but takes a quick touch inside before firing a ferocious snapshot into the far top corner

How did she do it? "This was probably my best goal. I quite like to cut in from the left-hand side, it's natural for me because I'm a right footer but also defenders don't like to defend on their weaker side, so if they're a right footer they don't like to be coming in on to their left side. I decide to shoot at the last minute, as soon as the defender gives you that gap, because you can't second guess what the defender is going to do. If every time I got the ball I took a touch and then shot it would be predictable, so sometimes you have to drop a shoulder or feint to go the other way. I get the shot in quickly and it's something I've spoken to goalkeepers about. If you shoot early, they are still trying to get into position, they're not set, they're not ready. The quicker you can get that touch out of your feet and get your shot off, the more chance you've got of it going in. Like the goal against Bristol, the goalkeeper has come across naturally to the near post. I've wrapped my foot around the ball and aimed for the far corner. I'd love to say that I do that in training every day, I try to but they don't always go in! I'm glad it came off in the game."

Toni Duggan wears the Manchester City FC training apparel available now on www.nike.com

 

For more football tips see:

Toni Duggan: How to make it pro

Harry Kane: How to be a match-winner

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