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6 Great Examples Of Quick Thinking On A Football Pitch

6 Great Examples Of Quick Thinking On A Football Pitch
By Barry Connaughton

We spend most of our time enjoying the lightning quick feet of Lionel Messi as he flicks the ball past a defender or admiring Cristiano Ronaldo as he tears past the opposition at full pelt.

But this list is all about celebrating a certain quickness we see all to rarely on the pitch, a quickness of mind. 

Ian Henderson

The Rochdale player demonstrated his quick thinking against Bradford in January after missing his penalty attempt. The ball rebounded towards him and was faced with an empty net but his knowledge of the game prevented him from sticking the rebound in the net. After taking a penalty the taker is not allowed to touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player. So, despite the obvious temptation, he had the awareness to duck out of the way of the oncoming ball and allowed a team mate to smash home the goal. The goal proved decisive as Rochdale went on to win 2-1.

(Click on the image if it's not playing.)

Dean Saunders

The Welsh legend scored this classic while playing for Sheffield Utd in 1998. Saunders was beaten in a race to the ball by the Port Vale keeper who knocked it out for a throw. Saunders, upon seeing that he had no teammates up in support realised there was only one course of action to take in order to benefit from the keeper being out of position. He throws the ball at the keeper, effectively playing a one-two off his arse and then slots the ball into the empty net.


Schalke 04

Leverkusen score a penalty in the Bundesliga through their goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt. As he was making his way back to his own goal he spent a bit too much time soaking up the adulation of his team mates. The quick thinking Schalke players weren't as impressed however and took the opportunity to score directly from kick off, cancelling out the goal, much to the keepers dismay.


Jens Lehman

Another crazy German keeper involved in this one. Jens Lehman was never one to shy away from the use of gamesmanship and intimidation, however, this particular example is brilliant for its ingenuity. Upon seeing that an opposition striker has lost their boot, the former gunners stopper, rushes out to snatch the boot and then proceeds to fling it off the pitch and onto the roof of his net. Oh Jens, don't ever change.


The Brazilian is known for unlocking defences with his dazzling footwork but this clip shows him using another piece of audacious trickery. He convinces the keeper to give him a swig of his water bottle causing the defenders to think he is just after a bit of hydration and poses no danger. His team had been awarded a throw in which means he can't be ruled offside which leaves him in acres of space. Ronaldinho then takes this gift to lay on an easy assist for his team mate.


Crafty Ball Boy

This clip comes from a game between Santacruzense and Atletico Sorocaba in Brazil back in 2006. After a Santacruzense player shot narrowly wide, the ball boy collected the ball with his feet and took it back on to the pitch. He then rolls it into the net and as the goalkeeper goes to fetch it the confused referee awards a goal after consultation with the linesman.

Also Read: Quick Thinking Stops The Most Embarrassing Penalty In NFL History Last Night
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