The Tony Yeboah thunderbolt – Elland Road 1995
THE second half was just five minutes old and midfielder Gerry McAllister lobbed a long pass to Leeds striker Rod Wallace.
Wallace headed the ball down to an advancing Tony Yeboah, the Ghanaian striker loved by the Elland Road faithful.
As Wallace header got closer to Yeboah, his body seemed to slow down and then his right foot exploded with such ferocity, volleying the ball that thundered off the crossbar into the Liverpool goal.
Yeboah’s strike was hit with such power and accuracy and left Liverpool goalkeeper David James defeated. Yeboah punched the air, starting a celebration that was joined by his Leeds teammates, led by Wallace and Brian Deane. On the bench, coach David Wilkinson was ecstatic and in the stands, the Leeds fans, who were the majority of the 35 852 fans at the game, were delirious.
That was August 21 in 1995. Leeds were an exciting team then and among the top 10 in the British Premier League. Now, 25 year later, the wonder strike, which won the game for Leeds, is on the shortlist of the BBC’s greatest goals of all time.
So, Yeboah, the only African in the Leeds team and one of the few in the British Premier League then, could well be on his way to making history.
His goal faces stiff competition from some of the great strikers playing for other British Premier League clubs. He faced a challenge from Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp whose dribbling skills saw him go past Newcastle defenders before beating goalkeeper Shay Given. The goal, scored on March 2, 2002, is favourite among football pundits for the best goal of all times.
Then there is Ryan Giggs’ extra-time goal, which he scored after jinxing four Arsenal defenders to hand Manchester United a victory in their April 14, 1999 clash. Italian Paolo di Canid, then playing for West Ham, pulled a spectacular volley, with his two feet off the ground to earn a spot in the top ten. Other goals in contention were scored by Matt Le Tissier (Southampton), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Trevor Sinclair (Queens Park Rangers), Thiery Henry (Arsenal) , Andros Townsend (Manchester City), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) and Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).