There is nothing as funny in football as a spectacular own goal – unless your team scores it. But everyone can appreciate the comedy value of someone inadvertently sticking the ball into their own net and the history of the game is littered with some sensational examples, with Richard Dunne having managed the most own goals in Premier League history with an impressive ten. We have picked out some of the best and most ridiculous own goals from the Premier League era.
Santiago Vergini, Southampton v Sunderland
In truth, we could do a whole list of own goals scored by Sunderland players over the years. After all, this is the side that once managed to score three own goals in a seven-minute spell. But it is this spectacular effort from defender Santiago Vergini that makes the cut this time
The Saints were already 1-0 up when they won the ball in the Sunderland half, but the promising attack appeared to have broken down when the ball looped into the air about 25 yards out.
Argentinian full-back Vergini was under little pressure as he advanced on the ball to clear it, swinging his right boot to send a gorgeous volley swerving into the bottom corner. Southampton went on to win 8-0 but it is Vergini’s own goal that will be replayed endlessly for years to come.
One of those own goals you could not replicate if you tried a million times. Kudos.
Peter Enckelman, Birmingham City v Aston Villa
If you have to score an own goal, you do not want to do it in one of football’s biggest derbies.
That is exactly what happened to hapless Aston Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman when he scored one of the all-time great comedy own goals in a Second City derby defeat in 2002.
There seemed to be no danger when Olof Mellberg took a throw-in back to his goalkeeper but Enckelman fatally took his eye off the ball. It took a slight touch off his boot and rolled into the goal despite the Finland international’s best efforts to recover the error.
As if that was not embarrassing enough, Villa boss Graham Taylor claimed his goalkeeper “doesn’t know the laws of the game”, a suggestion that was strongly refuted by Enckelman.
Indeed, Enckelman told Radio Five Live he had not touched the ball as he accepted he had made a “blunder” in what turned out to be a 3-0 defeat against rivals Birmingham City. Enckelman’s career as a Premier League goalkeeper was effectively over due to the mistake.
Lee Dixon, Arsenal v Coventry City
Lee Dixon is regarded as one of the most reliable defenders of the Premier League era, but the full-back’s moment of madness also led to one of the competition’s greatest own goals.
A long punt from the Coventry defence landed at Dixon’s feet and the England international initially looked to be considering a crossfield pass before deciding to go back to David Seaman.
The goalkeeper was not anticipating the ball would come his way, though, and it duly floated over his head and into the net, leaving a baffled Dixon to hang his head in shame. Arsenal went on to lose 2-1.
Tony Popovic, Portsmouth v Crystal Palace
Remember a couple of years ago when everyone seemed to be scoring gorgeous scorpion kick goals? Well, they cannot compete with this incredible strike by Tony Popovic
With Crystal Palace unable to clear their lines, Portsmouth’s Steve Stone delivered a dangerous cross into the box, albeit one that Popovic should have been able to deal with easily enough.
The Australian wrote his name into football’s history books with one of the great Premier League own goals, though, dangling out a leg to flick the ball over his head and in.
Extra bonus points for style here as the ball clipped the post on its way into the Palace goal.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham v Liverpool
A lot of funny own goals are attempted clearances gone wrong, but sometimes a player just finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time
That is exactly what happened to Gareth Bale late on in his first spell at Spurs, who were defending a lead against Liverpool.
Aaron Lennon was stationed on the post and he hacked the ball off the line. Unfortunately, he booted it right into the face of Bale, with the ball rebounding straight into the Spurs goal.
Bale was the Premier League’s star player in the 2012-13 campaign, but the Wales winger will never be able to scrub this embarrassing moment from the highlight reel of a stellar season.
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