Giroud's stinging scorpion kick on best-goal shortlist

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud during the Europa League on Sept 28, 2017.
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud during the Europa League on Sept 28, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Olivier Giroud's scorpion kick for Arsenal against Crystal Palace last season was shortlisted for Fifa's Goal of the Year award on Monday, alongside efforts from Venezuelan teenager Deyna Castellanos and South African goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.

Giroud scored with an improvised volley in the Premier League match on Jan 1, producing an acrobatic flick with his left heel to convert Alexis Sanchez's cross into the net off the bar while tumbling forward.

Arsenal won the match 2-0 and Giroud, who admitted afterwards that he had a bit of luck with his connection, said it was the best goal he had ever scored.

The 31-year-old is the seventh Frenchman to be nominated for the award but the first to make the final shortlist of three, world football's governing body said on its website (www.fifa.com).

Castellanos is the second Venezuelan woman in successive years to make the final three. Her strike came from the halfway line against Cameroon at the Under-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan last year.

The teenager follows in the footsteps of compatriot Daniuska Rodriguez, whose goal made the final three last year, but lost out to Malaysian Mohd Faiz Subri's spectacular 35m swerving free kick.

Masuluke is the first goalkeeper, as well as the first player from Africa, to make it to the final three for his last-minute bicycle-kick equaliser for Baroka FC against Orlando Pirates last year.

The winner of the award, named after the late Hungary captain Ferenc Puskas, will be decided by the public and announced at Fifa's annual Player of the Year ceremony in London on Oct 23.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Giroud's stinging scorpion kick on best-goal shortlist'. Print Edition | Subscribe