An attacker beats the defensive line and then goes around the keeper on the edge of the penalty area, leaving them well behind. The attacker continues dribbling the ball towards their opponents' goal. They then stop the ball on the goal line with their foot. They then get down to their knees, wait for the goalkeeper and/or other defenders to approach (in order to make a last ditch save) and then score with their head.

Would this goal stand, and if not, what would be the outcome and why?

  • 1
    interesting question, I asked a generalised version of this question with respect to what sort of punishment is possible for unsporting behaviour with intent of teasing/taunting/insulting the opponents or the fans
    – posdef
    Jul 24, 2014 at 11:44

2 Answers 2


This scenario occurred in a 2014 match in the french Ligue 1. Paul-Georges Ntep scored a goal for Rennes against Reims with a header after dribbling up to the empty goal. On this occasion at least, the referee let the goal stand.

Herman Koré repeated the feat in the French cup , according to google translate:

During the 8th round of the Coupe de France between Chateaubriant and US Concarneau Saturday Herman Kore had fun pushing the ball head on the opponents goal

and again the goal stood, even though the opposition were upset.

So in practice it seems likely that the goal will stand, but the referee could possibly decide that the act of heading the ball in from the ground was "unsporting behaviour". This is indeed recommended in this post, which claims to have been "approved by the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Referee Program". In this case the referee would stop the game, issue a yellow card to the attacker, and restart with an indirect free kick to the defending team.

  • 1
    That post you linked is actually official policy for referees in the US. Furthermore, the answer has come directly from IFAB, so I'd argue that the referee was wrong in this case. Jul 25, 2014 at 0:09
  • 1
    This weekend Würzburger Kickers scored this goal: [link]youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mPixvuy5z-8 . This is a correct goal but as @Fillet said: a goal as discribed in the question should not be given because of unsporting behaviour and the player gets a yellow card. Yellow cards for unsporting behaviour are also for taking of the shirt eg
    – Phab
    Aug 6, 2014 at 6:18
  • @Phab: the 1-0 for Würzburger Kickers is definitely improvisation, not showboating. The striker seems to fall, possibly due to a challenge from the defender behind him, and then heads the ball in while on the floor. You, I and Referee all agree: correct goal
    – Fillet
    Aug 6, 2014 at 6:33

It's a goal, but why bother do that? (Beside to showboat, obviously)

In the Rules of The Law, it was told that (page 34):

A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided that no infringement of the Laws of the Game has been committed previously by the team scoring the goal"

Making a goal with your head is not an infringement. So goal it is.

  • So, you're saying that in no way, the action can be considered to be unsporting behaviour? Jul 24, 2014 at 7:24
  • Well this is objective or depends to the referee, but I will call it as not unsporting behavior. Well, taunting can be remarked as unsporting behavior, but this is not taunting, this is just 'looking for problem'
    – Realdeo
    Jul 24, 2014 at 7:36
  • 2
    I would say it's taunting indeed! The player says "Look, how bad you are! I have even time to do some "tricks" before scoring the goal."
    – Phab
    Aug 7, 2014 at 5:44
  • Taunting might result in a yellow card, but there isn't anything in the rules where it would be an infraction that would negate a goal, is there? I'm not seeing any basis for why it would be disallowed. Nov 2, 2016 at 16:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.