Tag Archives: goal

Crystal Palace 2 Leicester 2 – match report: Chris Wood scores equaliser at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace 2 Leicester 2: Wood pegs back hosts as Selhurst spoils are shared

PUBLISHED:

16:51 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:12 GMT, 20 April 2013

Chris Wood's second-half strike could not prevent Leicester slipping out of the npower Championship play-off places.

The New Zealander plundered his 20th goal of the season as the Foxes twice came from behind to grab a point at Palace.

But Bolton's win over Middlesbrough saw them leapfrog City into sixth, while Palace's hold on a play-off spot also looks far from secure.

To the rescue: Chris Wood's equaliser earned Leicester a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

To the rescue: Chris Wood's equaliser earned Leicester a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park

MATCH FACTS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Zaha, Dikgacoi, Marrow (O'Keefe 78), Dobbie (Bolasie 75), Murray,
Wilbraham (Phillips 85). Subs Not Used: Fitzsimons, Ramage, Moritz, Banton.

Booked: Moxey, Delaney, Dikgacoi.

Goals: Gabbidon 26, Dobbie 67.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky, Knockaert (Kane 90), King, James, Dyer (Gallagher 89), Schlupp (Nugent 73), Wood. Subs Not Used: Logan, Drinkwater, Whitbread, Moore.

Booked: James.

Goals: King 37, Wood 73.

Att: 18,563.

Ref: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire).

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The Eagles had not scored in their
previous five matches and a run of seven without win leaves them just
two points clear of Leicester in seventh.

Their eight-hour goal drought was
ended by a player who had not scored in the league for more than eight
years when Danny Gabbidon put them ahead.

City levelled before half-time through Andy King before Stephen Dobbie tucked away his fourth goal of the season for Palace.

But Wood denied Palace a welcome win when he latched onto a defensive error to fire home in the 73rd minute.

Despite their wretched run, Palace
made a bright start and Kasper Schmeichel made a fine early save to
prevent an own goal after Dobbie's corner flicked a Leicester head.

Wilfried Zaha then teed up Aaron
Wilbraham, making his first Championship start since August, but the
former Norwich striker's shot was too close to Schmeichel.

Good start: Danny Gabbidon celebrates giving Crystal Palace the lead in the first half

Good start: Danny Gabbidon celebrates giving Crystal Palace the lead in the first half

Battle: Leicester's Wes Morgan holds off Glenn Murray as they compete fro possession

Battle: Leicester's Wes Morgan holds off Glenn Murray as they compete fro possession

CHAMPIONSHIP – AS IT STANDS

Championship

After those early let-offs Leicester
began to press and Jeff Schlupp was denied by Julian Speroni before Wood
and King fired off target.

But it was Palace who went ahead in
the 26th minute when Dobbie floated in a free-kick and defender Gabbidon
swept in his first league goal since March 2005.

Alex Marrow went close to doubling the advantage with a volley which Schmeichel managed to keep out.

But instead Leicester pulled level in
the 37th minute when a slick move involving Paul Konchesky and Lloyd
Dyer ended with King curling in a fine equaliser.

Shortly before the interval Marrow's deflected drive was tipped over the top by Schmeichel.

After the break Leicester should have
taken the lead when Wood knocked down Paul Konchesky's cross into the
path of Schlupp but the youngster scooped his shot over.

At the other end Glenn Murray's header set up Wilbraham, who got in front of his marker but nodded against the crossbar.

Palace's pressure told in the 67th
minute when Murray's lay-off found its way to Dobbie on the edge of the
area and the former Swansea frontman tucked away a fine strike.

But six minutes later a slip by
Damien Delaney allowed Wood to charge through one-on-one with Speroni
and he made no mistake to snatch a point.

South Africa 2 Morocco 2

South Africa 2 Morocco 2: Hosts secure top spot after snatching last-gasp leveller

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

19:29 GMT, 27 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:47 GMT, 27 January 2013

South Africa grabbed a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Morocco on Sunday and take top spot in the final Group A table at the African Nations Cup.

Morocco, eliminated after drawing all three matches, were four minutes away from beating the hosts before defender Siyabonga Sangweni levelled.

Issam El Adoua opened the scoring for Morocco in the 10th minute at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Top of the group: South Africa's May Mahlangu celebrates his goal against Morocco

Top of the group: South Africa's May Mahlangu celebrates his goal against Morocco

South Africa players celebrate

May Mahlangu pulled South Africa level with a curling shot in the 71st minute only for substitute Abdelilah Hafid to restore Morocco's lead with a breakaway goal 11 minutes later.

South Africa will stay in Durban for their quarter-final against the runners-up in Group B who will be determined on Monday.

Close: Morocco came within minutes of earning their first win of the competition

Close: Morocco came within minutes of earning their first win of the competition

Close: Morocco came within minutes of earning their first win of the competition

Best goal of 2012: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Papiss Cisse, Neymar, who will win?

Who scored the best goal of 2012 Drogba, Neymar and Ibrahimovic are all in with a shout… here are Sportsmail's top 10

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UPDATED:

14:40 GMT, 31 December 2012

Compiling a list of the greatest goals of the year is always tricky. It’s difficult to judge whether a magnificent dribble leading to a solo goal is better than a searing volley from 30 yards out.

But come the end of the year it’s time to decide which strikes make the cut and which must fall by the wayside. This collection has been chopped and changed a-plenty, but this is what we’re sticking with.

Only two of FIFA’s three Puskas award short-listed goals are present and correct – apologies and an honourable mention to Radamel Falcao.

We only have space for 10 goals on this list but if you believe other strikes deserve to be recognised then have your say in the comment section below.

Whose was the best 2012 saw some spectacular and brilliant goals and Sportsmail lists the top 10

Whose was the best 2012 saw some spectacular and brilliant goals and Sportsmail lists the top 10

10. Peter Crouch (STOKE v Man City)

People love to stick the boot in on Stoke because of their 'dour' brand of football. But they have offered some magic moments too during their time in the top flight.

Earlier this week we saw Cameron Jerome score an absolute rocket against Southampton. And in March Peter Crouch dealt Manchester City a setback in the title race.

We know now that it didn't stop them winning the Premier League, but at the time this wondergoal gave Man United the chance to open up a three point lead at the top.

Crouch nodded Asmir Begovich's long punt to Jermain Pennant who nodded it back and then the giant striker teed himself up and lashed in a stunning volley from an awkward angle past Joe Hart.

9. Simon Cox (NOTTINGHAM FOREST v Birmingham)

In the 1998 World Cup quarter-final clash between Holland and Argentina, Dennis Bergkamp scored a delightful goal, controlling a long pass expertly and finishing with aplomb.

Nottingham Forest and Ireland striker Simon Cox evoked that spirit against Birmingham in the Championship. Yes, the stage was smaller but the skill was no less admirable.

Cox took one touch to kill Lewis McGugan's long ball and then adjusted instantly to delicately flick it over the helpless Jack Butland.

8. Rodrigo Palacio (GENOA v Lazio)

Did he mean it That was the question everybody was asking when Rodrigo Palacio, now of Inter, scored this gem.

The Genoa striker's cute backflick from this corner floated over the surprised Lazio keeper and sank into the net.

Some say it was luck, others judgement. Sportsmail falls in the latter camp and will give the Argentina hitman the credit this effort deserves.

7. Gaston Mealla (NACIONAL POTOSI v The Strongest)

Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita made it famous at Wembley in 1995. But keeping the scorpion kick revival movement going in 2012 was Nacional Potosi striker Gaston Mealla. (See also THIS hilarious scorpion kick own goal for last year's effort).

During a Bolivian league match between his side and The Strongest, an under-hit dink forward was set to land behind the striker on the edge of the box. But Mealla cared not for his team-mate's mistake.

His stupendous athleticism salvaged the situation and helped create a bizarre and beautiful goal.

6. Neymar (SANTOS v Internacional)

Santos' much sought-after Brazilian demonstrated just why Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City all are willing to splash the cash on him with this bewitching solo goal against Internacional.

He picked the ball up in his own half surged at 100 miles-per-hour past, round and through anybody who stood in his way, before nudging the ball home.

Note – Hatem Ben Arfa's effort in the FA Cup against Blackburn was a contender for the list, but the Newcastle man just missed out to this. A tough call to make.

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5. Didier Drogba (Bayern Munich v CHELSEA)

Picture the scene. Chelsea are 1-0 down in the Allianz Arena and the stadium is bouncing. Bayern Munich are on the cusp of winning the Champions League trophy on their own turf.

With two minutes to go Juan Mata floats in a corner from the right. Everything seems to stand still as the ball drops in towards the near post. Everything that is, except Didier Drogba.

The Chelsea striker leaps for the ball and sends a venomous header in at the near post in front of the Blue corner of the stadium. To get so much power into the ball from such an awkward position makes this one of the finest headers of all time – before you even forgetting the circumstances.

An honourable mention goes to Ramires, Drogba's team-mate whose superbly weighted lob against Barcelona in the semi-final earned the Blues passage to Munich.

4. Philippe Mexes (AC MILAN v Anderlecht)

Philippe Mexes is supposed to be a defender. So how on earth did this happen

AC Milan were beating Anderlecht 1-0 in the Champions League when the centre-back doubled the lead with something a little bit special.

The Frenchman chested Riccardo Montolivio's ball away from goal and then flipped it accurately into the top corner with a precisely executed overhead-kick.

Milan's general manager Adriano Galliani waxed lyrical about the strike, and said: 'If Leo Messi had scored that, every news channel around the world would show it and he'd have been made a saint tonight!'

He's probably right.

3. Miroslav Stoch (FENERBAHCE v Genclerbirligi)

He's not the biggest name on the list, but he scored one of the finest goals.

Bringing to mind Zinedine Zidane's Champions League final volley and Paul Scholes' effort against Aston Villa, Fenerbahce winger Miroslav Stoch made Turkish league opponents Genclerbirligi pay.

Stoch stayed cool to pull the trigger on a 25-yard volley which swerved away from the goalkeeper and zipped in to the top corner.

This goal has been nominated for the FIFA Puskas award, along with Neymar's effort. At the Ballon d'Or ceremony on January 7 the winner will be revealed.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWEDEN v England)

This is certainly the most famous goal of 2012.

Yes, it's Zlatan Ibrahimovic's simply ridiculous propeller kick against England, which also happened to be his fourth goal of the game.

He defied gravity as he tossed his 6ft 4 frame into the sky with abandon, to caress the ball sweetly into the net.

There's an arguement to be made that Mexes' effort was trickier because he had a goalkeeper to beat – here Hart is in no-man's land – but this is from further out and far more awkward to hit.

The Swedish superstar had, until this friendly which his side won 4-2, previously been maligned by a fair few people on British soil, who thought he was over-rated and arrogant (OK, so the last part is still true).

This incredible goal was the cherry on the cake which he gleefully stuffed down the gaping mouths of his detractors.

1 Papiss Cisse (Chelsea v NEWCASTLE)

On a cold spring evening in May, Papiss Cisse warmed the cockles of Newcastle's travelling fans and delighted football fans the world over with this simply stupendous effort.

With one momentous swing of his right boot, he destroyed Chelsea's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League through a top four finish and secured himself a place in every 'Greatest Goals' DVD release between now and the end of time.

Every time you watch his outrageous volley, which spins past the thoroughly bewildered Petr Cech, it just gets better and better.

Perhaps the previously lethal Senegal striker decided he could never top this because it seems like he's stopped trying this season. You could forgive him, because this would be the highlight of anybody's career.

Craig Mackail-Smith wanted by Norwich City

Norwich preparing 3m swoop for Brighton striker Mackail-Smith

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 29 December 2012

Norwich manager Chris Hughton will go back for 3m Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith after missing out on him in the summer.

Hughton is keen to boost his side’s goal tally with Grant Holt having scored only four times this season.

Mackail-Smith, 28, has reached double figures in the Championship.

Wanted man: Brighton striker Mackail-Smith (left)

Wanted man: Brighton striker Mackail-Smith (left)

Thierry Henry trains with Arsenal

I'm back in town! Henry trains with Arsenal but no playing deal has been signed… not yet anyway!

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UPDATED:

14:37 GMT, 28 December 2012

Thierry Henry could be set for a third stint with Arsenal as he trained with the Gunners at their Colney base on Friday.

The club's record goal-scorer is just keeping fit during the MLS off-season and, as yet, no playing deal has been signed.

But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hasn't given on securing the French forward on loan next month.

'I've not lost interest in him,' said Wenger.

Reunion: Henry linked up with the man who brought him to England from Juventus

Reunion: Henry linked up with the man who brought him to England from Juventus

Going for a jog: Henry gets put through his paces

Going for a jog: Henry gets put through his paces

He added: 'He's still coming to practice with us. We are very close (personally), but at the moment I think he has had a second spell at the club that was very successful. You have to be cautious that it's not one time too many.

'I have not completely ruled it out but I haven’t spoken about it with him at all.'

Henry scored the only goal in Arsenal’s FA Cup tie with Leeds when he was on loan at the Emirates Stadium in January before netting the winner in 2-1 league win over Sunderland.

Impact: Henry scored the winner against Leeds in an FA Cup tie when he returned to Arsenal on loan at the beginning of 2012

Impact: Henry scored the winner against Leeds in an FA Cup tie when he returned to Arsenal on loan at the beginning of 2012

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Sweden add verb "to Zlatan" to national dictionary

In honour of our genius! Swedes add verb 'to Zlatan' to national dictionary

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UPDATED:

13:58 GMT, 27 December 2012

Wonder goal: Ibrahimovic celebrates his stunning long-range overhead kick against England

Wonder goal: Ibrahimovic celebrates his stunning long-range overhead kick against England

Sweden has added the verb ‘to Zlatan’ to their national dictionary.

In the country’s latest way of honouring their footballing hero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish Language Council has approved the term, since it has been increasingly used in conversation by Swedes referring to an outlandishly talented action.

The word was originally coined on Les Guignols, a popular satirical puppet show – similar to Spitting Image – from French station Canal Plus, whose characters are in awe of the PSG striker.

To recognise this, the Swedes have even acknowledged the original French spelling of ‘zlataner’, simply tweaking to create ‘zlatanera’ and officially defined it as ‘from the French: to dominate on and off the field.’

Ibrahimovic is currently Ligue 1’s top scorer having netted 18 times for the Parisians. While he is a natural showman, he admitted that he does not rehearse his goal celebrations.

‘When I score a goal, I never know in advance how I will celebrate, given (I’m) the current top scorer in the championship,’ he told RMC Sport.

‘There is so much adrenaline. Timing is everything, the environment, my mood. This is pure emotion.’

Many players have lent their names to particular moves before, but affording their overall brilliance to a verb is a first.

Johann Cruyff was honoured with the ‘Cruyff turn’ and the 360-degree turn has been attributed to Garrincha – although both Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona have staked claim to this.

PSG are currently leading Ligue 1 on goal difference, ahead of Lyon and Marseille and face Valencia in the last 16 of the Champions League in February.

Talisman: Ibrahimovic is the leading scorer in the French top division with 18 goals

Talisman: Ibrahimovic is the leading scorer in the French top division with 18 goals

Alan Pardew praises Shola Ameobi

Pardew praises Ameobi 'the big man for the big occasion' as Toon struggle past Rangers

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UPDATED:

20:13 GMT, 22 December 2012

Alan Pardew hailed Shola Ameobi after seeing the striker come off the bench to fire Newcastle to a much-needed victory over lowly QPR.

The 31-year struck nine minutes from time to claim just the Magpies' second Barclays Premier League win in eight attempts with the game seemingly heading for stalemate.

Toon hero: Newcastle's Shola Ameobi celebrates scoring his sides winning goal with James Perch

Toon hero: Newcastle's Shola Ameobi celebrates scoring his sides winning goal with James Perch

Match facts

Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Anita, Tiote (Marveaux 77), Perch, Gutierrez (Obertan 60), Ba, Cisse (Shola Ameobi 61).

Subs Not Used: Harper, Bigirimana, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson.

Booked: Tiote, Perch, Shola Ameobi.

Goal: Shola Ameobi 81.

QPR: Green, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Hill, Mackie, Mbia, Granero (Wright-Phillips 56), Faurlin (Derry 78), Taarabt, Cisse (Hoilett 64).

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Diakite, Traore, Onuoha.

Booked: Ferdinand, Hill.

Attendance: 50,180

Referee: Kevin Friend

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Pardew, whose decision to replace
Papiss Cisse with Ameobi 20 minutes earlier had been booed by a section
of the 50,180-strong crowd at St James' Park, said: 'I know the crowd
weren't particularly pleased when I took Cisse, a goalscorer, off but I
just felt Shola… he's a big man and this was a big occasion and he likes
big occasions.

'It said QPR on the programme but
really it was bigger than that, I think we all knew that and he has that
calm head – he knows what is demanded here – to produce a quality goal,
and it won us the game.

'I wanted to get Shola on the pitch, and thank goodness I did because it was a really class finish.

'He could have taken the shot with
his right foot, which is his stronger foot, but to have that composure
in that area is first-class.'

Ameobi's decisive intervention came
in the nick of time and was greeted by a huge sigh of relief on Tyneside
after he ran on to fellow substitute Sylvain Marveaux's
perfectly-weighted pass before shooting left-foot across keeper Rob
Green and into the bottom corner.

Leaving it late: Shola Ameobi scores to win the game for Newcastle

Leaving it late: Shola Ameobi scores to win the game for Newcastle

It was no more than the Magpies
deserved after dominating throughout but it proved a rare piece of
incision with Pardew's men too often lacking craft to open up the
visitors.

Vurnon Anita forced two second-half
saves from Green, but Tim Krul also had to get down well to keep out
Djibril Cisse's effort just after the break.

The Magpies might have won more
comfortably had Green not beaten away Marveaux's late effort after a
pacy run, but Krul had to ease late nerves by plucking Adel Taarabt's
free-kick from under his crossbar in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

Fight for the ball: Adel Taarabt vies for the ball with Newcastle's Mike Williamson

Fight for the ball: Adel Taarabt vies for the ball with Newcastle's Mike Williamson

Pardew had admitted before the game
that he would not enjoy his Christmas lunch unless he sat down with
three points safely banked, and he was delighted to be able to do so
ahead of a tough Boxing Day trip to Manchester United.

He said: 'The pudding will taste a
little bit sweeter. I feel sorry for our fans. We have put them through
the rack, really, over this last period.

'They have watched some football that
hasn't been our best. But you have periods in your tenure as a manager
and sometimes a season.

Midfield battle: Cheick Tiote is tracked by Esteban Granero

Midfield battle: Cheick Tiote is tracked by Esteban Granero

Pardew had admitted before the game
that he would not enjoy his Christmas lunch unless he sat down with
three points safely banked, and he was delighted to be able to do so
ahead of a tough Boxing Day trip to Manchester United.

He said: 'The pudding will taste a
little bit sweeter. I feel sorry for our fans. We have put them through
the rack, really, over this last period.

'They have watched some football that
hasn't been our best. But you have periods in your tenure as a manager
and sometimes a season.

Getting it right: Harry Redknapp gives instructions from the sidelines

Getting it right: Harry Redknapp gives instructions from the sidelines

'Last season, we sailed through one or two low moments but not many. This year, it's been a sustained little run.

'But the last five games, two wins in
the last four Premier League games, they are starting to look the right
sort of stats now.

'Now we need to back that up and get a big win against one of the big clubs, and that would really cement us into mid-table.'

Defeat on Tyneside was the first for
QPR boss Harry Redknapp since taking over from Mark Hughes, although he
admitted his side had been hanging on when Ameobi settled the game.

He said: 'I thought we were going to hang on and nick a draw. I couldn't see us winning, but we just couldn't see it through.

'I thought we could hang on for a good point to keep us going, but it just wasn't to be.'

All smiles: QPR owner Tony Fernandes watches on at St James' Park

All smiles: QPR owner Tony Fernandes watches on at St James' Park

Darron Gibson: Everton striker Nikica Jelavic as good as Michael Owen and Ruud van Nistelrooy

Gibson: Jelavic is every bit as good as hot shots Owen and Van Nistelrooy

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UPDATED:

18:31 GMT, 19 December 2012

Everton midfielder Darron Gibson believes teammate Nikica Jelavic’s finishing instincts make him similar to the likes of Michael Owen and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The Croatia international may not have been able to replicate last season’s stunning impact of 11 goals in 16 matches having arrived in January, with six in 17 games this campaign.

But Gibson thinks the quality of the striker means he will get plenty more for the Toffees.

Nikica Jelavic

Finishing touch: Nikica Jelavic is proving to be one of Everton's shrewdest signings

'He’s a bit like Michael Owen or Van Nistelrooy in the box,' said the Republic of Ireland international, a former team-mate of both Owen and Van Nistelrooy at Manchester United.

'He’s first class and I don’t think there’s many better than him in the Premier League at the moment.

'The vein of form he had when he first came was special and from a football point of view I think we knew he couldn’t keep it up constantly.

Michael Owen

Ruud van Nistlerooy

Old school: Jelavic has been compared to Owen (left) and Van Nistelrooy

'Every striker goes through a lean spell but it hasn’t taken him too long to score again.

'He’s definitely up there with the best goal scorers I’ve played with to be honest. His finishing is unbelievable.'

Gibson said Jelavic makes life easier for him with the options he offers.

Nikica Jelavic, Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar

Best of the lot: Gibson says Jelavic makes his job far easier

'He makes some great runs and he makes the passes easier for me,' he told the Liverpool Echo.

'He makes my decision for me by his movement. He’s a great player and luckily he’s scoring again which is important for us.'

Adel Taarabt goal was excellent, but Matthew Le Tissier scored goals like that regularly

Why the fuss over Taarabt Le Tissier performed magic like that week in, week out for Saints

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 17 December 2012

There is a lot about Adel Taarabt which brings back memories of the heyday of Matt Le Tissier.

He's languid, a touch lazy, and must be incredibly frustrating for teammates to play with – that is until he produces moments of audacious genius such as his finish on Saturday.

It began with a burst of energy as he brought the ball under control, a sublime dummy and then that instinctive perfectly placed finish.

Scroll down for video…

Magic moment: Taarabt scored a stunner for QPR in their first win of the season

Magic moment: Taarabt scored a stunner for QPR in their first win of the season

*Click here to watch Taarabt's stunning goal against Fulham

Yes, it was all very Le Tissier. But to
truly bare comparisons to the South Coast legend Taarabt is going to
have to repeat his wonder goal time and again for a series of seasons.

For that is what Le Tiss did – practically single-handedly keeping Saints in the top flight for a decade – and he dominated the goal of the season charts, particularly in 1993 and 1994.

I can’t hear the song Life of Riley by the Lightening Seeds (which was Match of the Day's goal of the month music in the mid-nineties) without remembering Le Tiss's flick up and volley from a free kick against Wimbledon, the loop over two players heads and then a delicate finish against Newcastle, a swerving strike against Forest, and, my favourite, the 35 yard belter against Blackburn.

And there were many more, most notably a volley against Arsenal in the final game at The Dell.

On top of that he had a remarkable record from the penalty spot – only failing to score once in 48 attempts.

Master: Le Tissier regularly scored cracking goals for Southampton

Master: Le Tissier regularly scored cracking goals for Southampton

He seemed to have a hand in almost every goal Saints scored. There were times his talent drove fans to despair. For someone who could see and supply passes only a handful of others could match, he hung on to the ball for an eternity.

Some would call his never-ending flicks, tricks and dummies mesmerising, others would sigh at why he didn’t just play the simple pass.

When his inspiration went missing and Saints fell behind, his sloth-like demeanour was frustrating.

But Le Tissier scored 210 goals for Southampton – all of them in the top flight, and for a club which rarely finished in the upper half of the table.
Only when Taarabt can match this, will his talents ever truly match the man Saints fans call Le God.

VIDEO: Le Tiss stars in Goal of the Season competition

Saracens 19 Munster 13: Match report

Saracens 19 Munster 13: Farrell's boot edges Sarries closer to Heineken Cup qualification

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 16 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 16 December 2012

Owen Farrell edged the battle of the erratic goal-kickers as Saracens won a compelling contest against Munster at Vicarage Road to top Pool One of the Heineken Cup.

With two games remaining in the pool stage, Saracens hold a two-point advantage over Racing Metro and a three-point cushion over Munster who now have it all to do to remain in the competition.

Saracens were deserved winners, overcoming the loss of Will Fraser to the sin bin, but had to rely on 14 points from the boot of Farrell for their success.

Just bootiful: Owen Farrell was the difference for Saracens

Just bootiful: Owen Farrell was the difference for Saracens

Munster grabbed an interception try from Doug Howlett but failed to take advantage of Fraser's absence and two late misses from Ronan O'Gara cost them dearly.

The game began with a spark as the first ruck culminated in a heated melee between the packs, resulting in a warning being given to the captains.

The opening minutes were frenetic as both sides harried each other into mistakes. Saracens had the first sustained attack and the first scoring chance but Farrell's 25-metre drop-goal attempt sailed narrowly wide.

After eight minutes, Farrell was given another opportunity and this time he was on target with a long-range penalty.

A poor kick from Farrell, which went straight to Simon Zebo, gave Munster their first chance to counter-attack. O'Gara produced an exquisite chip over the top for Zebo to collect but a knock-on by hooker Mike Sherry prevented the move from developing.

On the charge: Schalk Brits of Saracens is tackled by Peter O'Mahoney

On the charge: Schalk Brits of Saracens is tackled by Peter O'Mahoney

Saracens conceded a penalty at the resulting scrum but O'Gara fired wide, however moments later the outside-half made no mistake with his second effort after Farrell had been penalised for not releasing.

Munster suffered a setback when full-back Felix Jones limped off, to be replaced by Luke O'Dea, but although Saracens had marginally the better of the first quarter it was still 3-3 at the end of it.

However after 22 minutes, the hosts scored the opening try when Farrell's clever chip through saw David Strettle easily win the race for the touchdown which Farrell converted.

Back came Munster to tie up the scores. Farrell's loose pass on half-way was intercepted by James Downey, and although the centre was caught by Strettle he got the ball away to Howlett who scored for O'Gara to convert.

Mixed emotions: Saracens pack celebrate winnning a late scrum as the dejected Munster forwards look on

Mixed emotions: Saracens pack celebrate winnning a late scrum as the dejected Munster forwards look on

Saracens continued to dominate in terms of possession and territory but they could not make it count at that stage.

Strettle was hauled down just short of the line and Farrell missed a penalty so it remained at 10-10 at the interval.

When O'Dea fumbled an up-an-under early in the second half, it allowed Saracens a position in the visitors 22. Munster were penalised but again Farrell could not take advantage.

Against the run of play, O'Gara put his aside ahead with a penalty after Downey nailed his former Northampton colleague Chris Ashton, who was penalised for not releasing.
Farrell responded with a simple penalty after Munster offended at a scrum and minutes later kicked another to give Saracens a 16-13 lead going into the final quarter.

Saracens suffered a huge blow when Will Fraser was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Howlett.

Munster immediately piled on the pressure for their best period of the match but O'Gara's drop goal and penalty attempts both missed the target.

Saracens survived the onslaught and it was left to Farrell to seal a crucial victory with a penalty four minutes from time.