PANAMA’S first qualification for the World Cup has been overshadowed by them scoring a controversial goal ‘ghost goal’ against Costa Rica.
Gabriel Torres’ equaliser against Costa Rica didn’t appear to cross the line, and without goal-line technology, a goal was given in their 2-1 win.
Torres’ strike wasn’t the first ‘ghost goal’ scored, and certainly also wasn’t the first to have massive consequences either.
Our friends at Football Whispers look at four other dubious strikes which ended up being given.
Luis Garcia, Liverpool v Chelsea, 2005
We wouldn’t be using the term ‘ghost goal’ if it wasn’t for Luis Garcia’s strike against Chelsea in Liverpool’s 1-0 Champions League semi-final win at Anfield in 2005.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho called it a ‘ghost goal’, and after the match criticised the officials, saying: “The linesman scored the goal. No-one knows if that shot went over the line and you must be 100 per cent.”
Yet if Garcia’s goal wasn’t awarded, referee Lubos Michel would have sent off Petr Cech and award Liverpool a penalty for a foul in the build-up on Milan Baros.
In 2008 he said: “If my assistant referee had not signalled a goal, I would have given a penalty and sent off goalkeeper Cech.”
If that had happened, Liverpool would surely have gone through due to their man advantage regardless.
Rafa Benitez’s side went on to win the Champions League that year with a historic comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul, but that hasn’t stopped Mourinho moaning about the incident since then.
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In 2015, he said: “I lost a semi-final with a goal that was not a goal. Today it would not be a goal. Today with goal-line technology it would be different.”
Despite William Gallas hacking the ball away, Garcia claims it did actually cross the line.
He told FourFourTwo earlier this year: “I celebrated the goal because I truly believe that I saw the ball go over the line.”
John Eustace own goal, Reading v Watford, 2008
While there was a possibility that Garcia’s effort crossed the line, there was no doubt that Reading’s ‘goal’ against Watford in 2008 did not.
Thirteen minutes into a Championship clash between the two sides in September 2008, Reading had a corner. Then it all went a bit wrong for 25-year-old referee Stuart Attwell, who that season had become the youngest ever Premier League referee.
Stephen Hunt swung in the corner, which hit Watford hardman Eustace on the thighs.
Noel Hunt went after the loose ball, attempting, unsuccessfully, to cut it back from the byline before it bobbled out of play wide of the goal.
Assistant referee Nigel Bannister raised his flag, Attwell pointed to the six-yard line, and the teams set themselves for a goal-kick.
So far, so normal. But the 22 players, Attwell and the 14,000 fans inside Vicarage Road had misinterpreted Bannister’s signal.
A conversation between the referee and his assistant, bewilderingly, led to a goal being awarded with Bannister believing the ball to have been inside the post rather than two yards outside.
It’s fair to say everyone was bemused. An honest Stephen Hunt described it as: “Probably the worst decision I’ve ever witnessed in football.”
Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd said it was ‘a monumental howler.’ Which it was.
Stefan Kiessling, Bayer Leverkusen v Hoffenheim, 2013
Eustace’s own goal isn’t the only shot in to go wide and be given as a goal – it happened in Germany too.
The Bundesliga tie between Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim saw Stefan Kiessling’s header go wide but go through a hole in the side of the net.
Referee Felix Brych wasn’t impressed after the game, with no Leverkusen player admitting it didn’t go in.
“I checked with Kiessling. But no-one, not even him, said that it wasn’t a goal. The ball was in the net and for everyone on the pitch it was a legitimate goal,” he said.
Kiessling claimed he didn’t realise, saying: “After seeing the replays on television, I can clearly see that it was not a legitimate goal.
“During the game, after heading the ball and turning my head, I did not exactly see whether the ball had gone into the goal or not.
“Somehow, the ball was lying in the goal and I said exactly that to the referee.”
Hoffenheim tried to get the game replayed, but after a 90-minute hearing, the German Football Association (DFB) decided to uphold the decision.
“The question isn’t whether this judgment satisfies us from a sporting perspective,” they said in a statement.
“From a legal point of view, there is no alternative. There are no grounds for the appeal. The factual decision may have been incorrect, but it is irrevocable.”
Geoff Hurst, England v Germany, 1966
With the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley poised at 2-2 in extra-time, Geoff Hurst rifled a shot onto the underside of the bar which bounced down on the goal-line.
It was given as a goal by Azerbaijani linesman Tofiq Bahramov, and England went onto win 4-2 and lift the World Cup for the first and only time in their history.
Yet the Germans claimed Hurst’s shit never crossed the line, even if the former West Ham striker believes it did.
“If we had this system 50 years ago, it would have shown quite clearly the ball was at least a foot over the line,” he said in 2013 when talking about goal-line technology.
“Germany have been arguing the toss ever since but I will never tire of talking about it. They can’t take it away now anyway. It is in the book.”
And Sky Sports claim to have proved it did cross the line when they recreated it using EA Sports technology last year – so it may not deserve its place on this list, even if the Germans believe it does.