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Football’s 5 greatest improvised finishes

23 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Football’s 5 greatest improvised finishes

After Harry Kane invented a new type of goal on Saturday, we look back at the ways footballers have innovated to score in the past.

There is no name for what Harry Kane did on Saturday. We’ll christen it ‘The Sweep’, given its likeness to the way a batsman might send the ball to the square-leg boundary off a spinner.

This goal doesn’t have the grace of a cricket shot, but its execution is a result of both skill and bloody-mindedness.

Kane is bumped to the floor by Caglar Soyuncu as he gathers Son’s backheel pass, but something as trifling as being sent sprawling on his bum isn’t going to stop him.

After this, defenders must be wondering how you can prevent someone so desperate to score from doing so.

Here are five other improvised finishes that left the opposition scratching their heads.

The Scorpion Kick

Any cross that results in a scorpion kick has been underhit and misdirected, so the intended target is not only producing a brilliant piece of skill but salvaging an attack that would otherwise have come to nothing.

The scorer, therefore, needs strong goalscoring instincts (or be Henrikh Mkhitaryan).

With their momentum all forward, they must either turn and try to bring the ball down, a natural choice for most players, or chuck a foot at it from behind them and hope for a good connection.

Unfortunately, modern-day examples of this goal come with caveats. Mkhitaryan was offside for his, so the goal wouldn’t have stood this season. Olivier Giroud’s effort shortly afterwards is more looped and less emphatic.

Neither drawback should take away from the agility and speed of thought required to pull them off, though.

The Spinning Jab

A theme begins to emerge with these unusual finishes: Cristiano Ronaldo has scored with all of them.

OK, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made this finish famous for LA Galaxy, but that’s partly because associating Ronaldo with only one type of goal would be mad.

The goalscoring GOAT has netted in this fashion more than once, including completing a hat-trick for Real Madrid at Malaga in 2011, before Zlatan did it even more spectacularly in MLS last year.

The skill is not just in the swivel, although Zlatan’s 180-degree pirouette is impressive, but the power in the soles of both men’s feet.

From a standing start, both get shots away with the strength of a bullet header. Those Nike bootmakers need a pay rise.

The Airborne Flick

This, in my humble opinion, is the most brilliant of the lot.

Like the scorpion kick, the skill level is higher because the player loses track of the ball as it goes behind them in the moments before impact. Not only is it technically excellent, but requires great timing.

Doing all of that two or three feet in the air, like Gianfranco Zola against Norwich in 2001, sets it apart.

Zola’s goal defines this type of finish. The dart to the near post is impressive, but meeting the ball so purely with both feet off the ground is surely near-impossible for most players.

Kanu and, unsurprisingly, Ronaldo (sort of) have also mastered the skill.

The Standing Backheel

Something about this finish seems easier than the others, probably that the ball is at a near-standstill when struck. But there is a reason why only Thierry Henry and, naturally, Ronaldo are famous for goals like this.

It relies on shock factor. The Charlton defenders backing into Henry, for example, are doing so seemingly safe in the knowledge that he can’t get a shot away from that position.

Usually, they would have been right.

Then it is all about power. A scuffed effort wouldn’t get through the crowd of defenders to even trouble the goalkeeper, but the snap and timing in the jab at the ball only gives the defenders time to watch it go in.

Ronaldo’s is especially satisfying, with the ball nestling perfectly into the corner of the net.

The Backwards Header

“Doing a Chicharito.”

Hernandez’s name pops up whenever anybody attempts a back header like the one he scored at Stoke in 2010. But it doesn’t happen often, because the move is so difficult to do.

You have to be a certain size to be agile enough to flick the ball backwards at that pace, particularly considering that the ball was in front of Hernandez when he stooped underneath it.

Like the scorpion, it also requires a strong instinct for goal, with so many other options seemingly more appropriate.

Hernandez ticked those boxes and executed one of the most unique Premier League goals ever scored.

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