Most important own goal ever?

April 23, 2008

How did he manage that?

John Arne Riise’s astonishing own goal seems to have given Chelsea the edge in the first Champions League semi-final.

Liverpool’s Norwegian defender bent down to spectacularly head in deep into injury time and leave the scores at 1-1 ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Has their ever been a more important own goal? Liverpool were the better side on the night and looked to be easing to a 1-0 first-leg advantage after Dirk Kuyt’s first-half strike. To have that lead ripped away so late and in such a strange fashion cannot have helped their confidence while it has given Chelsea a boost they barely deserved.

Colombia defender Andres Escobar scored an own goal in the 1994 World Cup which knocked them out. He was later shot dead in his home town. Des Walker and Steven Gerrard beat their own keepers in Cup finals but with the importance of the Champions League these days, Riise’s feat will be long remembered.

It may be important for some, but for many neutrals it is certainly one of the funniest football moments.

PHOTO: Liverpool’s John Arne Riise scores an own goal against Chelsea during their Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield, April 22. REUTERS/Phil Noble


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It was a great finish. While it wasn’t what Liverpool needed, it does set up the second leg – now the away side have to score, which is great for the neutrals.

Posted by John Pennington | Report as abusive

Gary Mabbutt’s cracking knee effort that gave Coventry the 1987 FA Cup must be a candidate.

Posted by Paul Virgo | Report as abusive

For most important own goal ever, I’d vote for Antoni Ramallets in the 1961 European Cup final. One of the best goalkeepers ever, but his own goal was the difference in Benfica’s 3-2 win over Barcelona.

There’s also Geli’s own goal in the 2001 UEFA Cup final, which won the cup for Liverpool. Actually, given the circumstances (it was a Golden Goal to end the match at 5-4 deep in extra time) it might have been even more devastating than Ramallets’.

Riise’s goal will certainly be remembered if Chelsea go on to the final, but if Liverpool somehow scrape through at Stamford Bridge it won’t be quite so consequential.

Still really funny, though.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

I quite agree that there have been several key own goals scored in finals rather than a semi but given the context of this tie, the time the goal went in and what the Champions League represents in 2008, we could be talking about riise for years.
PS: Paul is a Coventry fan!

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

I don’t care, It was just good to see karma come back and bite Liverpool where it hurts!

Posted by KG | Report as abusive

[…] list of the greatest own goals in history, with Mark at Reuters even wondering whether it might be the most important own goal of all time. This got me thinking: what are the most important own goals of all time, and why am I not spending […]

Posted by The Best of the Worst Own Goals – The Run of Play | Report as abusive

This kind of thing happens in football – Risse and his teammates should know this and move on. Players miss chances, score own goals and get sent off. I was shocked at the way Riise’s teammates didn;t console him. I remember that in the World Cup game Italy v USA, when Zaccardo scored an own goal, each memebr of the team at half time slapped him on the back to say ‘it’s okay’. That’s how it should be.

Posted by Paolo | Report as abusive