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The FA Cup

The Greatest FA Cup Goals?

In 2003, the Nationwide Building Society, one of the FA Cup’s five sponsors, ran a poll to see which was the greatest goal ever scored in an FA Cup match.

The clear winner was Ryan Giggs’s outstanding solo effort for Manchester United in extra time in a semi-final replay against Arsenal in 1999. The goal is a mazy run from the halfway line that ends with a sharply angled, thumping finish. It was the winning goal in a closely fought 2-1 win.

To see a replay of his amazing goal, visit:


ICONS football expert Stuart Walton says: “Giggs receives a misdirected pass behind the halfway line. He runs the ball over the line and into a triangular formation of three Arsenal players. The first man mistimes his advance and is left behind before he has chance to make a tackle.

“Continuing his run, Giggs then knocks the ball forward, and runs a little wide of it to the right, as though inviting an Arsenal player to claim it, but actually shielding it from them. He then continues to dribble it forward, with the Arsenal markers still standing off him.

“As he enters the box, two of the Arsenal defenders, Martin Keown and Lee Dixon, finally attempt to close him down, but Giggs deftly fools them both by a sudden change of tempo, appearing to skip between the two of them.

“This leaves him at an oblique angle on the left side of goal, from where he unleashes a left-foot chip of pinpoint accuracy, which flashes across the face of the goal and dips under the crossbar.”

Final analysis

Giggs’s moment of brilliance came in a semi-final, but what was the finest goal ever scored in a final?

That accolade surely goes to Argentinian player Ricardo (Ricky) Villa’s strike for Tottenham against Manchester City in the replayed final of 1981. He had been substituted in the first game, but became the hero of the decider after scoring twice.

His second, the winning goal in a 3-2 victory, was a swerving, dribbling run through the City defence, threaded past the oncoming goalkeeper Joe Corrigan at the last moment.

To relive Villa’s goal, visit:


ICONS football expert Stuart Walton says: “Villa receives a long ball from out wide on the left, and starts on a slaloming run through the City defenders. He dribbles the ball past two players, Ray Ranson and Tommy Caton, in the box at close quarters, before side-footing it square to his right between the two of them.

“With the second defender recovering to his left, he sees the keeper coming off his line. Pausing for a split-second, he disguises his final shot as though he is going to the right side of the keeper, and as the keeper is left lunging to his left to cover it, Villa tucks the ball neatly between him and the last defender, into the now wide-open goal.”

At least, those are the goals we think are the best. Disagree? Argue with us here.