Ghost Goals – How Chelsea exorcised one against Liverpool with technical help
The specters of ghost goals still haunt football fans around the world. There is Geoff Hurst's goal against Germany in the 1966 World Cup final. There is Frank Lampard's infamous 'goal that never was' against the same opponent in the 2010 World Cup. And many more in various competitions of varied magnitude around the world.
But on November 8, Chelsea fans celebrated their team consign one such infamous goal against the Reds at Liverpool.
After conceding an early goal to Liverpool, Gary Cahill found himself shooting a loose ball at the opposition goal. At first look, Chelsea defender's attempt looked an incomplete one with Simon Mignolet putting his body behind the ball on the line.
But referee Anthony Taylor signaled a goal, thanks to the new goal-line technology adopted by the league. Replays showed the ball crossing the Liverpool goal-line. Had it not been for the new technology, it would have been one tough task for the linesman to judge the veracity of it. And who knows, it could have ended as a brilliant save from the Belgian custodian.
Then, Jose Mourinho's side scored the winner in the 67th minute with the prolific Diego Costa adding another one to his ever increasing goal tally. The Blues won the match and extended their lead at the top of the table. But, history had something against them, against Liverpool when it comes to such contentious goals.
In 2005, playing their Champions League semi-final second leg at Anfield, Chelsea were undone by a fourth minute ghost goal, scored by Luis Garcia from a Milan Baros dink. Despite a strong protest from the traveling team, the goal stood, helping Liverpool reach the continental final thanks to that 1-0 win, for the first time in 20 years. It also propelled the legend of Steven Gerrard to reach another realm.
In the final at Istanbul, after trailing by three first-half goals, Gerrard helped Liverpool script an improbable win against AC Milan, a side which had the likes of Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo, Hernan Crespo, Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko.
Gerrard himself scored the first goal for the English side. Then within five minutes, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso scored a goal each to level the score at 3-3 at the hour mark. Liverpool survived a late Milan onslaught to win their fifth continental title on penalties.
The semi-final defeat at Andfield denied Jose Mourinho a shot on a rare treble in his first season as Chelsea manager. The Portuguese arrived in London after winning the Champions League with FC Porto and already gained the popularity as the Special One, thanks to his rather suave press-room antics and even more persuasive verbatims.
In the same season, Mourinho helped Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich justify his obscene expenditure in acquiring players by winning Chelsea's first league title in more than 50 years. With the League Cup title also coming their way, Chelsea could have completed the treble. But, as Chelsea fans continue to rue still today, the semi-final defeat at Anfield robbed them the chance to have a crack at that enviable feat.
Ever since, the animosity between Chelsea and Liverpool has reached a new level. The rivalry has witnessed many engrossing matches. But the return of Mourinho at Chelsea and the presence of highly regarded Brendan Rodgers, who helped Liverpoool finish second last term in England, have further incensed the atmosphere. And throw in a bit of history, and the flare can be seen from anywhere, as witnessed on during their latest meeting.
The win at Anfield on Saturday, thanks to a justified call from the referee and the use of a new technology will help Chelsea fans exorcise the ghost of 2005. The win also holds special reference because Cahill's goal happened at the same end as that of Garcia's strike.
English league uses goal-line technology, provided by Hawk-Eye which has been successfully deployed in other sports like cricket and tennis. The technology sends a signal within a second of the ball crossing the line to the referee, who in turn receives the signal in his watch.
The Liverpool-Chelsea match witnessed referee Taylor making his decision within seconds, which was furthered verified by replays. Had it not been for the new technology, football fans would have been forced to live with yet another controversial episode.
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