90 minutes is a long time to find the back of the net, but sometimes this is not long enough and teams will fail to score. This is not usually the case however, as more often than not teams will get on the score-sheet at least once. Sometimes players waste no time and catch their opponents out on the first attack, and some of these goals have happened so quickly that many fans missed them as they were still making their way to their seats. These have become historic and famous strikes in the world of football.
10. Jesus Navas – 14 Seconds
When two of the top teams face off against each other there is always some extra excitement in the air, and this was certainly the case when Tottenham traveled to Man City on the 24th of November, 2013. It would turn out to be a high scoring and dramatic affair, but not one that Spurs fans will look back fondly on, as they were on the wrong end of a 6-0 thrashing. Things were looking bad for the North London side from the get-go, with Jesus Navas scoring after just 14 seconds of play. It was Spurs who kicked off, but instead of attacking they went straight back to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who made a poor clearance. Lloris then did well to deny Aguero from distance, but Navas was able find the back of the net on the follow up.
9. Dwight Yorke – 13 seconds
Dwight Yorke is famous for being one of the quickest players the Premier League has seen. He was also quick on the score-sheet when playing for Aston Villa against Coventry in 1995. Yorke headed his side ahead after just 13 seconds, and this early blow would prove to be too much to recover from as the score would finish 3-0. Immediately from kick-off, Ian Taylor was sent clear down the right hand side and he put in a perfect cross which Yorke was able to steer home as many of the fans in the stadium were still finding their way to their seats. One Coventry fan reflected on Yorke’s lightning quick goal, “I like to have at least 5 minutes before I accept defeat.” Yorke would go on to form a lethal partnership with Andy Cole at Man United and helped them to a famous treble in 1999.
8. Mark Viduka – 11 seconds
Mark Viduka is one of the all-time great Australian soccer players and captained his nation into the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup. He spent time playing in Australia before playing in Croatia, Scotland, and finally in the Premier League. In England, Viduka would establish himself as a prolific scorer, particularly at Leeds United where he netted 22 goals in two separate seasons. It was here that he cemented himself as a Premier League legend by scoring after just 11 seconds in a game against Charlton in 2001. From kick-off, Leeds lofted a long ball into the box which was flicked on by Alan Smith into the path of Viduka, who took one touch before slotting the ball past the Charlton goalkeeper. Charlton would go on to equalize, but the start of the second half proved to be equally dramatic with Leeds scoring again after just 44 seconds.
7. Alan Shearer – 10.4 seconds
Alan Shearer is one of the greatest goalscorers the game has ever seen, and he tops the Premier League all-time top scorers with a staggering 260 goals. One of these goals would take him just 10.4 seconds in 2003, proving that Shearer is deadly at all times throughout a match. The goal came down to poor play from Man City, seeing them go back to their goalkeeper from kickoff who was quickly closed down by the Newcastle striker. The keeper’s clearance was blocked by Shearer, who then simply tapped the ball into an empty net to leave the Man City team feeling slightly sheepish. As previously proven, passing back to your goalkeeper from kick-off is a slight risk, and particularly when your opponents have a predatory and prolific scorer like Shearer in their ranks.
6. Ledley King – 10.4 seconds
It usually comes as somewhat of a surprise when a centre-back scores, but for one to score after just 10 seconds is shocking, as their starting position is so far away from goal. Spurs legendary centre-back Ledley King managed this remarkable feat in a game against Bradford in 2000, making this the fastest ever goal scored from kick-off in the Premier League. After the ball fell to King from a loose header, the defender surged forward before firing a shot from 30-yards which found the back of the net after a slight deflection. It was King’s first goal for the club, instantly cementing him as a Spurs hero. It would go on to be a pulsating 90 minutes, seeing Bradford fight back to earn a point in a 3-3 draw.
5. Roy Makaay – 10 seconds
In March of 2007, Bayern Munich’s Roy Makaay scored the fastest goal in Champions League history after finding the net ten seconds after kick-off. Real Madrid were the team to start the match, but they quickly turned the ball over to Hasan Salihamidzic, who advanced up the right flank. He then put across a perfect pass to Makaay who scored with a fine strike on his first touch. It was the perfect start as Munich looked to overturn a first-leg deficit. The match would go on to provide plenty more drama as Munich eventually went through on away goals after the match finished 4-4. It was a poor mistake from Real Madrid to make in such a crucial fixture, but Salihamidzic and Makaay deserve credit for starting the match with such intensity, as they managed to catch out their opponents.
4. Tim Cahill – 7 seconds
The MLS may not have been around for very long, but it already has the fourth fastest goal of all-time thanks to Tim Cahill’s strike after just seven seconds. Playing for the New York Red Bulls against the Houston Dynamo in 2013, Cahill took the kick-off and then sprinted forwards where he then received an over-the-top ball which he controlled on his chest. He then let the ball bounce, before rifling home an effort into the top corner. Tim Cahill has made a career out of his speed, but this was fast, even for him. It looks set to be an MLS record that will stand for a long time. The match was the penultimate of the season and the Red Bulls would go on to win 3-0, and a victory in the final game saw them win the Supporters Shield thanks to a two-month undefeated streak.
3. Nawaf Al Abed – 2.4 seconds
Al-Hilal’s Nawaf Al Abed scored in less than 2.5 seconds back in 2011, yet astonishingly this is not quite the fastest goal from kick-off ever scored. The Saudi Arabian player scored straight from kick-off after noticing that the goalkeeper was off his line. The goalkeeper is at fault, as he should have been in position, but Al Abed’s intelligence, audacity, and technique should be praised as it is still a difficult shot to make. Conceding with the very first kick of the game proved to be a huge blow for the opponents, as Al-Hilal would go on to win 4-0 in the Prince Faisal bin Fahad cup match.
2. Marc Burrows – 2 seconds
It is almost impossible to score a goal from kick-off faster than 2.4 seconds, but Cowes Sport club’s Marc Burrows managed to score after just two seconds in 2004. Similarly to Al Abed’s stunning strike, Burrows had noticed the keeper off his line and took a shot immediately after kick-off, with the wind also helping to carry the ball into the back of the net. Sadly, Burrows passed away just a few years later at just 30 years old after a battle with cancer. He will always be remembered for scoring the fastest ever goal from kick off and it is hard to see this record being beaten.
1. Nicklas Bendtner – 1.8 seconds
Unlike the other entries on this list, this goal was scored by a substitute and was therefore not directly from kick-off. Despite this, it is technically the quickest goal ever scored and was Bendtner’s very first contribution of the game. The Arsenal forward was brought on in a game against rivals Tottenham, and he arrived in the box just as Cesc Fabregas took a corner. Bendtner rose higher than everyone else and headed home past Robinson in what would be the decisive goal as Arsenal held on to win 2-1. The Danish international’s immediate impact certainly made the substitute by Wenger look like a masterstroke, and it is difficult to see anyone topping 1.8 seconds anytime soon. Nicklas Bendtner may be the source of much amusement and the butt of many jokes, but he was the one laughing after this astonishing substitute appearance in 2007.