Let the ball do the work

Kanu's shimmy against Deportivo La Coruña
2 March 2000

Kanu nods the ball into the penalty area,
escorts it towards the goal, waits for everyone to fall over,
and then with his first touch taps it into the empty net.
What the Press said

Kanu's strike especially will always live in the memory of the Arsenal faithful. Pouncing on a defensive error he headed the ball clear of the chasing pack of Deportivo's defenders and let it run. With sublime skill, elegance and confidence which verged on arrogance, he just flicked his right foot over the ball twisted his waist and with keeper Songo'o falling on his back the Nigerian walked the ball into the net in what must surely go down as a classic moment in football history. With two touches he covered 30 yards beating defence and goalkeeper and walked the ball in the net. Magic.

Jon Brodkin (Guardian)

Kanu, on for Overmars, was not to be upstaged. The Nigerian quickly seized on a loose back pass to race in on goal, shepherded the ball towards the 'keeper, who was promptly left on his track-suited backside, before applying his first touch with a nonchalant left-footed finish from three yards.
Chris Macrae (Sky)

Arsenal's fourth goal of the night was their best. Kanu seized on a misplaced header to take the ball towards a rooted Deportivo goalkeeper Songo'o, who was deceived by a slight drop of the shoulder and went to ground as Kanu calmly walked past him and touched the ball into the net.

77 Goal Arsenal: 4-1 It's that man Kanu. Taking advantage of a terrible defensive blunder, he latches on to the arrant back header and simply strolls past poor old Songo'o and walks the ball into the net for a sublime goal.


What Kanu said What the other Gunners said

"It was one of the best goals I've scored. I was waiting and waiting for the keeper to make the move. As I was running towards the keeper I was just thinking: 'This is my goal'.

It's been a long time since I've scored and I always like to score near the keeper, I like to do my tricks, when I see the keeper I have to take him on.

I always like to score a goal that makes people say 'Wow, what a wonderful goal'. That makes me happy. A goal is a goal but when you score a special goal, that is important to your team, it is so good."

"It was pure Kanu. Very few players could have scored a goal like that. He is so inventive and creative, everything he does is a surprise to you."
Arsène Wenger

"Kanu is Kanu. He is the man. He has the ability to do special things and I love to watch him play. I watched the goal replay on the big screen and I was laughing because when he did the feint, the goalkeeper went the wrong way. I would love to have scored a goal like that but we have Kanu to score this kind of goal. He is like it in the training camp. He likes to play the ball and put the ball between the legs of the opponent."
Thierry Henry

What we thought

Goal 4. The pick of a gobsmacking bunch. Kanu gets a long ball that he runs onto; he heads it down to his feet which are about a million miles away from his head. He runs, loses the defenders, goes to the side of the goalkeeper, waits for the 'keeper to commit himself, he then STOPS TIME, makes subatomic particles freeze in space, rounds the upturned turtle of a 'keeper and nonchalantly slots the ball home. Beg, borrow or actually purchase a vid of this gem. Watch the pause before the stroked goal. You can keep your wandering lonely as clouds; this was pure poetry.

Laughing like a drain
Arsene Wenger made his customary substitution around the seventieth minute: enter Kanu. By this time Arsenal were attacking relentlessly, and the Nigerian was immediately effective. he demonstrated his usual skills, and in the seventy-eighth minute he picked up the ball and literally walked it into the net. The dummy that he "sold" the keeper was sublime - Songo'o literally fell onto the floor allowing Kanu to dance past him and score unhindered - revenge for the penalty save that cost Nigeria the African Nations Cup. David Seaman was laughing like a drain as he watched Kanu's trickery. He turned round to the Clock end fans, pointed to the Jumbotron screen and said "watch this!" - brilliant.
Arsenal World
Let the ball do the work
And anyone vaguely into football should try to see a replay of Kanu's 77th minute goal, which made it four. He was first to react to an under strength header back towards Songo'o and then let the ball do the work, as his twisting body movements alone sent all around him tumbling to the ground, before stroking into an empty net at the last possible moment.

What Wenger thought

Updated: 27 June, 2002
comments & suggestions to: m.shade@btinternet.com