Words: Josh Millar
Image: Offside Sports Photography
You’ve seen it happen loads of times. The pressure’s on, and your team can’t get the ball away from their box. Your hands are sweating, holding on to your chair because you can feel a goal for them coming... All of a sudden the ball has broken out and zipped out to the touchline to your winger and he’s got fifty yards of field to run into. He’s bearing down on the keeper, and before he gets into the penalty area, he’s already looked up and passed to your striker for a piece of piss easy goal. From back to front in less than ten seconds. Perfect.
Counterattacking goals are among the absolute best things to happen in football. It gives me more of a thrill than any THWACK, volley, or half-volley because you get that much longer to enjoy it. You get to see it happen in your head before it’s even happened, and they’re just really fun because they’re never exactly the same. Here are a few of our favourite counterattack goals of all time:
JAMES COPPINGER: DONCASTER v BRENTFORD—2013
Context is everything for this one: Doncaster needed a point to guarantee promotion, while Brentford needed all three points. Look at the way the Brentford players celebrate getting this 94th-minute penalty; they think it’s in the bag. The poor, poor bastards. Trotta batters it against the bar, but the Bees have already overcommitted. In their excitement they’ve decided not to put any defenders on halfway so off Donny go. Into the unknown. Billy Paynter has all the time in the world, and suddenly the flares are going off in the away end, Rovers have accidentally won League One, and it’s one of the funniest counterattack goals you’ll ever seen.
YANNICK GERHARDT: WOLFSBURG v AUGSBURG—2018
💨 – Alexa, show me the perfect counter-attack. pic.twitter.com/4VLXVMt3EN— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) December 23, 2018
Honestly, look at the swerve from the keeper’s kick. How can you not love this goal? It’s a 3–2 winner, and the keeper has defied physics to get the ball up the field. Magic.
MARCO BENASSI: FIORENTINA v UDINESE—2018
There’s absolutely no need for him to kick it that hard at the end of this move, but he does anyway. Decent.
COUNTER-ATTACK THWACK pic.twitter.com/mVX7H0GTvd— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) September 2, 2018
IKER MUNIAIN: ATHLETIC BILBAO v CELTA VIGO—2019
⚡️ – This is a proper counter-attack. pic.twitter.com/trGjfayIsR— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) January 8, 2019
“WATCH YOUR CHANNELS; THE BALL IS ONLY GOING ONE PLACE FROM HERE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? TACKLE HIM; THEY’RE GOING TO SCORE, THEY’RE GOING TO SC… OH FOR FUCK SAKE.”
ANDY PARKINSON: TRANMERE ROVERS v MIDDLESBROUGH—1999
LOOK HOW FAR THE KEEPER THROWS IT. FUCKING HELL. But let’s not take anything from Parkinson here, though. He still has to run the entire other half of the pitch. It’s probably the best goal he’s ever scored. Tranmere Rovers are in the semifinals of the Worthington Cup. We. Love. Cup. Football.
GEORGE WEAH: AC MILAN v VERONA—1996
In less than fifteen touches, George Weah runs from his own box to the other end of the field. On his own. No one can touch him. No one can get the ball off him. Georgey boy has looked at those boys from Verona, and he absolutely knows he’s gonna make them all look incredibly stupid. He doesn’t need any help. Edgar Davids? Nah mate, Bobby Baggio? You’re having a laugh. Zvonimir Boban? Never heard of him, mate. George has got this one down, the finest solo counterattack goal you’ll ever see. We couldn’t not include this one, could we?
GARETH BALE: REAL MADRID v BARCELONA—2013
Back when he wasn’t made of biscuits, Gareth Bale could run. My God, he could run. He’s doesn’t care that the poor Barça defender has knocked him off the pitch. He’s so much quicker than him that he runs the long way round in a two-man race and he has just G O N E. Sergio Busquets is so upset that he has to have a lie-down. If only he could still move like that. If. Only.
KEVIN VAN VEEN: SCUNTHORPE UNITED v OLDHAM ATHLETIC—2015
How many times have you seen a striker on his own running into a blind alley? But here Kevin van Veen jinks inside and is running straight for goal. There’s three defenders there; there is no way he should get anywhere near the box, let alone the goal. Right? Kevin, where are you going, mate? Kevin, keep it in the... the corner. Keep it in… And before you know it, he’s put on a turn of pace and all of a sudden he’s megged the Oldham number five (who, by the way, looks gutted, might never play again) and the finish, that finish is one he’s never doing again. A literal scoop, one that looks like it’s going to spin away from goal. In it goes, though, 4–2 Scunny, goal of the season. Well in Kevin, mate.
NACER CHADLI: BELGIUM v JAPAN—2018
No, wait, this is the best one.
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