It's generally accepted that if a shot was on target but then deflected from another team's player and went in, then the goal is not considered as an own goal. "Generally accepted", because there are no official rules regulating these scenarios.

But what about Sergio Ramos's 2nd goal in Napoli vs Real Madrid, Round of 16, 2nd leg, 2016/17 Champions League game (Europe video) (US video)? This goal was accounted by UEFA as Dris Mertens's own goal, although the shot was clearly on target.

The only guess I have is that as this shot was directed towards the goalkeeper Pepe Reina, the guys who define the authorship of the goals decided that if there hasn't been a deflection, Reina would have easily caught the ball. So, why this goal is counted as an own goal?

  • A number of occasions where the shot would have been going in but easily stopped by the goalkeeper, then deflected by a defender and actually went in, marked as o.g. in the summary. Almost assuredly that this is the case.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 20:28
  • Beginning to think there are people watching AFC Bournemouth games passionately every week like me, given all the pertinent questions. That thought is amazing. In today's game an obviously deflected shot was changed from a goal to an own goal after further reflection. And seems that has happened A LOT recently. I've seen quite a few of these changes made this year, at least in the Premier... so perhaps they're shifting towards OG being defacto (which is a bit of a pity?) Commented Mar 18, 2017 at 22:53
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    It's not broken. Probably you can't access the video from your location. If you know some legal international video highlight of this match, you are very welcome to edit the video link, I couldn't find. Are you sure it's referee who regulates the authorship of the goals? Cause I think it's some officials behind the scenes.
    – gdrt
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 16:17
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    @gbianchi Law 10 provides no information on how a scorer is decided. The referee isn't tasked with deciding which player has scored a goal - only which team. Competition rules might specify that the referee provides a player in their report, but it's not always the case. In the English league system, for example, the dubious goals committee has the final say on who is the scorer. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 23:18
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    I've also replaced the officiating tag with statistics, since deciding who the goalscorer is is a statistical matter, not an officiating matter. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 23:24

2 Answers 2


In the Premier League, if the shot was clearly on target before the deflection, then it is given as a goal. If there is any doubt as to whether the original shot was on target, then it is passed on to the dubious goals committee, who decide who to award the goal to. Whether or not the goalkeeper would have saved it without the deflection is not taken into consideration.

In the Sergio Ramos case, it is possible UEFA have their own definition of a goal/og that differs from the Premier League. Alternatively, UEFA could've deemed the Ramos header to be going off target before the deflection.


Since I don't have referee's match report this is not a complete answer. Clearly Ramos shot was on target but was given as Merten's own goal, the most likely case was that referee interpreted that as an own goal.

This old FIFA article states:

That although it is not among his official duties, it is the referee who should decide whether a goal is an own goal or not.

And on other article FIFA Referees Committee chairman David Will states:

the referee should decide. Maybe he would need to check with the teams to ascertain exactly who got the decisive touch in some unclear situations, but the name that goes down on the referee's report is the one that should enter the record books.

But more importantly on this article former UEFA president Michel Platini states:

Referees would be told to award a goal to the player who intended to score, provided the ball was already heading towards the net when the deflection occurred.

Emphasize part explains that it is the referee who will award the goal. But on that specific case referee may have interpreted Ramos shot was not headed towards the net and gave an own goal to Mertens.

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    Even if it were not exactly the case, still it's more general answer that could be applied to other disputable situations as well. That's why I am accepting your answer. Nice research!
    – gdrt
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 23:10
  • If the deflection happened by someone on the same team, who’s goal is it?
    – STOI
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 15:12
  • Are there different rules determining goals from own-goals, such that the referee would need to get involve? Or is it just as a favour to the statisticians, and to who gets the (dubious) bragging rights?
    – komodosp
    Commented Jan 31 at 10:23

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