Monday, January 16, 2012

16 January 2002 - Zola's Magical Mystery Goal

On 16 January 2002, Gianfranco Zola scored a remarkable back-heeled goal as Chelsea rolled over Norwich City in the FA Cup, 4-0.

The Third Round match was a replay, with the two sides having drawn 0-0 at Norwich's Carrow Road ground 11 days earlier. Back at Stamford Bridge, the hosts wasted little time, taking the lead in the 11th minute with a header from Mario Stanić. Norwich tried to rally with a strong push around both sides of halftime, but Chelsea weathered the challenge, then extended their lead with a goal from Frank Lampard (56').

Zola's moment of brilliance arrived in the 63rd minute, as he met a corner from teammate Graeme Le Saux. As the ball dropped outside the near post, the 35-year old striker met it in midair with his right foot and back-heeled it behind his body. It skimmed just inside the post past the outstretched arms of Norwich keeper Rob Green. Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri later described the goal as "fantasy" and "magic," while referring to Zola as a "wizard." Zola himself said "Don't ask me how I did it, because I don't know."

Chelsea proceeded to win the match 4-0 with the last goal coming from Mikael Forssell (89') and eventually reached the FA Cup Final where they lost to Arsenal.

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