An own goal in football is when a player accidentally scores a goal into their own team’s net.
This means that the opposing team is awarded a goal even though none of their players touched the ball last before it went into the net.
There are lots of reasons why own goals get scored including miscommunication between teammates, a defensive error, a deflection, or as an unintended consequence of trying to prevent the opposing team from scoring.
While own goals may be great for the opposition, they are the worst thing that can happen to poor footballer who scores them.
The worst result is that they change the outcome of a game. But let’s be fair, they’re mortifying and ridicule is almost guaranteed to follow!
That said, even the best footballers are susceptible to real howlers so let’s take a look at some of them below…
1. Gary Neville (Manchester United) Own Goal Against Everton
In December 2003, Manchester United and Everton played a thrilling Premier League match that ended in a 3-2 victory for Manchester United.
One of the most talked-about moments from that match was an own goal scored by Gary Neville, a stalwart defender for Manchester United and later a respected pundit.
During the match, Everton won a free-kick on the left side of the field.
The ball was delivered into the penalty area, and Gary Neville, in an attempt to clear the ball, accidentally headed it past his own goalkeeper, Tim Howard, and into the net.
It was an unfortunate moment for Neville, who was typically known for his reliability and defensive prowess.
Despite this setback, Manchester United managed to come from behind and secure a 3-2 victory in the match, but Neville’s own goal was one of the standout moments that many remember from that game.
2. John Terry (Chelsea)
John Terry, a legendary figure at Chelsea FC and former England captain, is widely regarded as one of the best central defenders of his generation.
Throughout his career, he showcased immense leadership, impeccable defensive skills, and even contributed goals to his team’s cause.
However, like any other footballer, he wasn’t immune to occasional mistakes, and one of these occurred in a Premier League match against Crystal Palace in 2014.
During this match, John Terry unintentionally scored an own goal. The incident happened when Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward delivered a cross into Chelsea’s penalty area.
Trying to clear the danger, Terry mistakenly directed the ball into his own net past a helpless Petr Čech.
Despite this setback, Chelsea still managed to win the game, and Terry’s own goal didn’t detract from his team’s overall performance.
3. Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
Jamie Carragher, a product of Liverpool’s youth academy and a one-club man, is undeniably a Liverpool legend.
However, like any defender, he wasn’t exempt from making occasional errors, and one of the more notable ones took place during the 2008/09 Premier League season when he scored not one, but two own goals.
The first was against Spurs when in an early fixture of the 2008/09 season, a mix-up between Carragher and goalkeeper Pepe Reina led to Carragher inadvertently sending the ball into his own net.
The second was against Aston Villa when Carragher found himself on the wrong end again. An attempt to intercept a cross resulted in another own goal, contributing to Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Villa on that day.
4. Christoph Kramer (Monchengladbach)
Christoph Kramer’s own goal against Borussia Dortmund in 2014 is one of the most memorable and bizarre own goals in the history of the Bundesliga.
During a league match between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund in the 2014-15 season, the incident occurred. In the 58th minute of the match, with the game still at 0-0, Mönchengladbach’s midfielder Christoph Kramer found himself quite a distance away from his own goal.
In a seemingly harmless situation, Kramer attempted to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper, Yann Sommer. However, the weight and direction of the backpass were severely miscalculated.
The ball sailed over the out-of-position Sommer and into the net. Kramer had inadvertently scored an own goal from around 45 meters out, which is quite unusual, especially for a backpass.
This goal became the talking point of the match and was replayed countless times in highlight reels.
5. Carlos Kameni (Malaga)
During a league match between Málaga and Real Sociedad in November 2016, Kameni unfortunately scored a bizarre own goal.
The incident happened when a cross was delivered from Real Sociedad’s right-wing into the Málaga penalty area.
The ball was headed away, seemingly clearing the immediate danger. However, it then struck the back of one of Málaga’s defenders and looped towards the goal.
Kameni, perhaps caught by surprise by the deflection, tried to catch the ball but ended up palming it into his own net.
6. Marc ter-Stegen (Germany)
Marc-André ter Stegen, the German goalkeeper widely known for his time with FC Barcelona, had a memorable own goal during an international friendly between Germany and the USA in 2013.
During the match, which took place in June 2013, ter Stegen had an unfortunate mishap that led to one of the goals for the USA.
A long-range shot was taken by the American midfielder Michael Bradley. While the shot was heading towards the goal, it wasn’t particularly powerful or tricky.
However, ter Stegen misjudged the bounce. As he went down to collect the ball, it slipped under his hands and rolled between his legs into the net.
It was an uncharacteristic error from the young goalkeeper, who was only 21 at the time.
The USA eventually won the match 4-3 in what was a thrilling encounter.
7. Lukaku (Inter Milan)
It was the UEFA Europa League final between Sevilla FC and Inter Milan that took place on August 21, 2020.
Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku, who had a fantastic season and was instrumental in Inter’s journey to the final, unfortunately turned from hero to zero within the span of the game.
In the 74th minute of the match, Sevilla’s Diego Carlos attempted an overhead kick following a corner.
The shot wasn’t particularly on target, but Romelu Lukaku, in an attempt to block the ball, inadvertently deflected it with his leg.
This deflection wrong-footed the Inter Milan goalkeeper, Samir Handanović, and the ball found the net.
The goal proved to be the match-winner, with Sevilla eventually winning the game 3-2, securing their sixth Europa League title.
8. Sergio Ramos (Sevilla)
The former Real Madrid player, who now plays for Sevilla, scored an absolute howler on September 29, 2023.
Sergio Ramos scored an own goal during a La Liga match against Barcelona, which gave Barca a 1-0 win.
It seemed like the match was heading towards a draw however, unfortunately for Sevilla, Sergio Ramos deflected a header from Lamine Yamal into his own net in the 76th minute of the game.
The goal broke the deadlock sending Barcelona to the top of the La Liga table.
9. Vincent Kompany of Manchester City
Manchester City centre-back Vincent Kompany was an accomplished footballer, but even the best make mistakes Vinnie and this was a massive clanger.
In a Premier League match between Manchester City and Fulham on February 4, 2012, Kompany accidentally found the back of his own net in a rather unique way.
During a Fulham attack, a cross was sent into Manchester City’s penalty box.
Kompany tried to clear the ball with a behind-the-leg flick, a move often referred to as a “rabona”.
Unfortunately for him, his attempt went awry, and the ball ended up in the net past a bewildered Joe Hart.
10. Frederico Gatti
Federico Gatti’s own goal occurred during a Serie A match between Juventus and Sassuolo.
The match took place on September 23, 2023, with the own goal described as bizarre, resulting from a no-look back-pass by Federico Gatti.
The unfortunate event unfolded when Gatti attempted to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, from outside his own box.
However, Szczesny was not in position and the ball went straight into the net, which contributed to Juventus losing 4-2.
In the passionate world of football, where every kick and dive is scrutinised, own goals stand out as some of the most unexpected and dramatic turns of events.
Even the most skilled professionals aren’t immune to such mishaps.
These infamous own goals, whether resulting from lapses in concentration, miscommunications, or sheer bad luck, remind us of the inherent human element in the game.