10 of the Most Shocking and Embarrassing Misses in Football History
Professional footballers are paid an obscene amount of money to do one thing: Ensure that the ball ends up in the opposition net more times than it does their own one. This task is made even easier when the oppisition defence gifts a striker an open goal. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both failed to convert into empty nets during Manchester Utd's recent Champions League encounter with Bayer Leverkusen, but their shoddy errors are not among the worst misses in the beautiful game.
Prepare to gorge on a feat of schadenfreude, as we serve up 10 courses of epic open-goal failure...
10. Lekhwiya SC vs. Guangzhou Evergrande
Qatari side Lekhwiya SC were dumped out of the AFC Champions League by Guangzhou Evergrande last week, thanks to a 4-1 home defeat in the second leg.
Lady luck was definitely not rooting for Lekhwiya, as they managed to hit the crossbar three times in three seconds as the first half drew to a close.
9. Boti Demel vs. Merani Martvili
If you haven't been keeping up withe the Georgian Umaglesi Liga, you may have missed this epic howler from FC Zestafoni striker Boti Demel against Merani Martvili in March.
8. Ludovic Giuly vs. Werder Bremen
Did you know that Eidur Gudjohnsen is still playing?
Seriously, he's at Club Brugge, where he is surely still feeling agrieved by the moment in a 2006 Champions League game with Werder Bremen when his Barcelona colleague Ludovic Giuly managed to completely ruin a beautiful move by smashing the ball wide of an open goal.
7. Jakub Blaszczykowski vs. Freiburg
Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga in 2010-11.
Midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski scored three league goals in the campaign. It should have been four goals, but for some reason Kuba missed an open net during BvB's 2-1 away win at Freiburg.
6. Ali Sami Yachir vs. CR Belouizdad
When MC Alger hosted CR Belouizdad earlier this month, Ali Sami Yachir's life was changed forever.
Before that game, he was simply an MCA midfielder playing in the Algerian Ligue 1.
Afterwards, he became the YouTube sensation who couldn't finish from six yards in an empty net.
5. Fahad Khalfan vs. Uzbekistan
Qatar striker Fahad Khalfan had the opportunity to send his nation through to the semifinals of the 2010 Asian Games when opponents Uzbekistan presented him with an open goal.
Instead, Khalfan managed to strike the ball with his left foot straight at the post. Qatar were subsequently eliminated from the tournament.
4. Ronny Rosenthal vs. Aston Villa
Here's an oldie, but a goodie.
During Liverpool's visit to Villa Park in 1992-93 (the inaugural Premier League season), the Reds' Isreali forward Ronny Rosenthal did all the hard work of getting past the keeper, then managed to smack the ball against the crossbar while under very little pressure.
3. Fernando Torres vs. Manchester Utd
In a storied career, Fernando Torres has won trophies at virtually every level he has played, yet he will probably never live down the incident that took place at Old Trafford in September 2011.
With Manchester Utd goalkeeper David De Gea beaten, Nando simply needed to slot into an empty net to give Chelsea a way back into a vital Premier League encounter.
Instead, he hit the ball into the stands, neatly surmising a dreadful, fail-packed season for the Spanish striker.
2. Jose Carlos Fernandez vs. Universidad Cesar Vallejo
Peruvian striker Jose Carlos Fernandez is nicknamed "Zlatan" for his resemblance to the mighty Swede, but presumably not for his awareness in front of goal.
While representing Alianza Lima in a 2010 Peruvian Primera Division tie with Universidad César Vallejo, Fernandez needed to give the ball the slightest of touches as it bounced within a yard of the goalmouth.
Somehow, he allowed the keeper to get a hand in first, missing one of the biggest sitters ever gifted to a professional footballer.
Five years prior to this event, Fernandez was actually a Universidad César Vallejo player. Just sayin'.
1. Rocky Baptiste vs. Waltham Abbey
There have been more high profile misses than this, but none seem quite so awful in comparison.
Non-league journeyman Rocky Baptiste was playing for Harrow Borough against Waltham Abbey in the 2009-10 season, when he rounded the keeper and had no one to beat... except his own desire to blast the ball as hard as he could from inches away.
Somehow, Baptiste was Harrow's top scorer that season.