Without wanting to get use the tired clichés about football being theatre, there is nothing quite as exciting as a late goal to bring the curtain down on a performance (damn). Late goals are special though, an hour and a half of turgid rubbish can be immediately forgotten by ball hitting net in the last minute. Here are five that are personal to me, feel free to suggest your own.
5. Richard Johnson, Watford (v Wolves)
Watford were still awaiting their first win of the season when Graham Taylor’s Wolves visited in late August, 1994. I was in my parents’ car listening to the radio; I knew it was 1-1, late in the game, when the presenter said those heart stopping words, ‘there’s been a late goal at Watford’…
4. David Platt, England (v Belgium)
This would have been a good contender for best volley, but the thing that I remember most about this goal was that it was so very late in the game. Belgium, with the masterful Enzo Scifo in their side, had come dangerously close to winning the game in injury time. England, perhaps sensing the decades of penalty shootout agony lurking ahead of them, somehow pulled this out of the arse:
3. Clarence Seedorf, Inter (v Juventus)
Scoring one beauty in the Derby D’Italia is impressive, two is taking the piss. Seedorf had already smashed one into the top corner, but his Inter side were trailing 2-1 at home to Juventus in the dying seconds of the game. Then Clarence took matters into his own hands and let fly again…
2. Michael Thomas, Arsenal (v Liverpool)
The chances of a championship being decided on the last game of the season – with such a narrow margin separating the contenders – is extremely remote. That it was decided in the last minute of the game provided a spectacle that has not been seen since in an English title race.
1. Edinson Cavani, Napoli (v Lecce)
I absolutely love this goal, I love the way Cavani absolutely leathers it. I was watching this game on a grey, wintery Sunday. As the final whistle drew near I was cursing wasting 90 minutes of my life on such dross, then it started to come to life. Right at the death, Lecce had an effort cleared off the line. Then a minute later this happened, and the previous 90 minutes were immediately forgotten: