Ranking the 15 best last-minute goals in football history

Ranking the 15 best last-minute goals in football history

Kevin Omuya
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:20 PM

Experiencing the best last-minute goals in football history is one of the many reasons football is so enjoyable to watch. Things tend to get quite dramatic when a lot is at stake, like a championship, a player's honor, or even a chance to move on in the tournament. Tension can rise in a group as they watch a game, especially in the last minutes.

Ultimate last minute goals, last minute football wins
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring the winning goal against QPR in the Barclays Premier League at Etihad Stadium on 13th May 2012. Photo: Ed Garvey.
Source: Getty Images

The stakes raise the drama of late winners, and it is not uncommon for them to go down in history. The pressure is constant and intense, no matter what's at stake — a prize, your reputation, or advancement in a tournament. Here are the 15 best last-minute goals in football history

Best last-minute goals in football history

15. Michael Owen

Match: Liverpool Vs. Arsenal FC

Dramatic last minute goals in football history
Liverpool's Michael Owen (Yellow) scores in the FA Cup final against Arsenal FC in Cardiff on May 12, 2001. Photo: David Ashdown
Source: Getty Images

In an FA Cup final against Arsenal FC in Cardiff on May 12, 2001, Michael Owen scored one of Liverpool's ultimate last-minute goals, sealing the club's FA Cup victory. His place as a football great was cemented and this goal is in the top 15 best of all time for football's most spectacular last-minute goals.

14. Aaron Lennon

Match: Arsenal Vs. Tottenham

Last minute goals in football history
Tottenham Hotspur's Aaron Lennon (center) celebrates with teammates Luka Modric (left), Darren Bent, and one of their fans after scoring Tottenham's crucial equalizing goal. Photo: Sean Dempsey
Source: Getty Images

In a game where Arsenal was leading with 4 goals scored, Spurs forward Jermaine Jenas scored a goal in the 89th minute, bringing the score to 4–2. With only four minutes left, Tottenham tied the game thanks to another goal from Aaron Lennon.

13. Craig Bellamy

Match: Manchester United Vs. Manchester City

Most famous goals in football history
Manchester City's Craig Bellamy wins a penalty after being fouled by Manchester United's Rafael Da Silva. Photo: Mike Egerton
Source: Getty Images

The late goals caught even Manchester United off guard. At the end of regulation time in the 2009 Manchester derby, United had a 3-2 lead. Craig Bellamy of Manchester City stepped up in the 88th minute after Rio Ferdinand lost possession, allowing his team to race down the field and score to draw the game.

12. John Macken

Most dramatic last minute goals in football history
Manchester City's John Macken shoots past Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Casey Keller during their FA Cup Fourth Round match at the City of Manchester Stadium on January 25, 2004. Photo: Phil Noble
Source: Getty Images

Match: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City

Spurs dominated Manchester City, 10-0, in the 2004 FA Cup fourth-round rematch. Following a first half in which they trailed by three goals, City appeared hopeless. Three minutes into the second half, Sylvain Distin scored on a header, and then, in the 61st minute, Anthony Gardner scored an own goal.

In the 80th minute, Wright Philips equalized the score. In the final minute of regulation, one of the most remarkable comebacks in football history was completed when John Macken scored with a header.

11. Nacer Chadli

Last minute goals in football history
Nacer Chadli (22) of Belgium celebrates his last-minute winning goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Japan at Rostov Arena on July 2nd, 2018, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Photo: Jean Catuffe
Source: Getty Images

Match: Belgium vs. Japan

The Samurai Blue won 2-0 despite Belgium's dominance for most of the match. Later, Belgium's attack force was too strong for the Japanese to handle, and Vertonghen and Fellini scored to make it a stalemate.

Belgium staged the most remarkable comeback in World Cup history and won the tournament., Lukaku set up Chadli for the game-winning goal, and the latter struck from close range to make the score 3-2. Chadli scored one of the best last-minute goals in soccer.

10. Andreas Iniesta

Most famous goals in football history
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta (8) scores past Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech during the UEFA Champions League semi-final match at Camp Nou in Barcelona on April 24, 2012. Photo: Jose Lago
Source: Getty Images

Match: Chelsea vs. Barcelona

Michael Essien gave Chelsea the lead with a goal in the first half. Eric Abidal's red card reduced Barca to ten men. Later, with only a few seconds remaining in extra time and ten men, Barcelona turned the game around.

At the far post, Andreas Iniesta fired, and the ball landed in the upper right corner. Chelsea's UCL run ended after conceding the key away goal.

9. Lionel Messi

Long distance goal in football history
Barcelona's forward L. Messi celebrates after scoring during the El Clasico football match against Real Madrid CF at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on April 23, 2017. Photo: Oscar Del Pozo
Source: Getty Images

Match: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

Real Madrid took the lead in the 28th minute, but 33 minutes later, Lionel Messi tied the game with a goal. Rakitic later put Barca ahead, but Rodriguez's second-half substitution tied the game.

Messi was struggling to make an impact after being fouled repeatedly. Madrid tried to force a decisive play, but Barca scored on a well-timed counterattack. Alba then set up Messi, who scored the game-winning goal from 15 yards out at minute 91:45.

Not only that, but Messi scored his 500th goal for Barcelona. Similarly, he executed a legendary shirt celebration and stunned the Bernabeu faithful.

8. Michael Thomas

Ultimate last-minute goals
Michael Thomas shoots past Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar to score the Gunners' 2nd goal in the last minute of the match, as Liverpool's Steve Nicol looks on, on May 26 1989. Photo: Bob Thomas
Source: Getty Images

Match: Liverpool vs. Arsenal

One of the closest championship races in English top-flight history is the 1988–1989 First Division season. At the time, it had been nearly three years since Liverpool had suffered a home defeat by a scoreline of two goals or more.

In the nick of time, Arsenal held a slim 1-0 lead. Liverpool, too, believed they had done enough to win the domestic double, and the Reds were up 1-0 until Michael Thomas scored in the 91st minute after dribbling past their defense. Subsequently, a goal by Thomas was enough to finally win the league championship for Arsenal after 18 long years.

7. Sergio Roberto

Last minute football wins
Barcelona's Sergio Roberto scores past goalkeeper Kevin Trapp of Paris Saint-Germain during a UEFA Champions League game on March 8, 2017, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: VI Images
Source: Getty Images

Match: Barcelona vs. Paris St-Germain

By eliminating PSG, Barcelona made history as the first side in UCL play to return from a 4-0 deficit in the first leg and win the match. While Barcelona was down 4-0, PSG was put under pressure as Luiz, Suarez, and an own goal from Kurzawa all happened in three minutes at Camp Nou.

Messi scored on a penalty kick just after halftime, but Cavani answered with a crucial away goal for PSG. Barcelona scored three times in the final seven minutes to pull within one goal on aggregate in the 88th minute.

Neymar was the game's hero when he scored on a free kick to the top corner and then scored on a penalty kick. He chipped the ball to Sergio Roberto, who scored a dramatic winning goal in the 95th minute. Because of their 6-5 aggregate tie-breaker victory, Barcelona advanced to the quarterfinals.

6. Lucas Moura

Last minute goals in soccer
Tottenham's Lucas Moura (Green) scores past goalkeeper Ajax's Andre Onana during the UEFA Champions League at the Johan Cruijff Arena on May 8, 2019, in Amsterdam. Photo: VI Images
Source: Getty Images

Match: Ajax vs. Tottenham

Spurs were already down a goal to the host Dutch club before Harry Kane's knee injury forced him to miss the trip. And after Ajax's captain, 19-year-old Matthijs de Ligt doubled the lead, they got off to the worst possible start. Soon after Son had struck the post, Ziyech added to their troubles with a long-range rocket to put them up by three goals.

Spurs were behind 3-0 at halftime, but Lucas Moura scored twice in the opening minutes of the second half to help Pochettino's team come back. After receiving a ball from Dele Alli in the game's final minute, Moura calmly buried a left-footed shot into the back of the net to cement his place in Spur's history. Tottenham won the game, advancing them to their first Champions League final, where they lost to Liverpool.

5. Steven Gerrard

Best last-minute goals in football history
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard (L) scores a penalty against West Ham, giving Liverpool victory in the English FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on May 13 2006. Photo: Carl De Souza
Source: Getty Images

Match: Liverpool vs. West Ham United

The FA Cup final in 2006 was the culmination of the 125th edition of the tournament. It is also known as "The Gerrard Final," after the legendary player participated in it. As early as the 30th minute, Liverpool was already behind by two goals.

But West Ham took a 3-2 lead after another goal from Paul Konchesky. Steven Gerrard scored Liverpool's second goal and got a cramp in the final minute. Gerrard scored a long-range goal in the 91st minute to make it 3-3 as the commentator signaled for four further minutes.

Gerrard's goal was the final psychological nail in the coffin for West Ham. After extra time and penalties, Liverpool won their seventh FA Cup.

4. Sergio Ramos

Dramatic last minute goals in football history
Ramos of Real Madrid heads the ball against Atletico Madrid defenders during the UEFA Champions League match at Vicente Calderon Stadium on April 14, 2015, in Madrid, Spain. Photo: Angel Martinez
Source: Getty Images

Match: Real Madrid vs. Athletico Madrid

The final score in overtime does not do justice to the excitement and tension at Estadio da Luz as Atletico Madrid came within minutes of capturing their first UEFA Champions League championship. Deigo Godin scored the go-ahead goal for Liga champions Atletico in the first half after Casillas made a mistake.

As the clock wound down in extra time, Real Madrid worried they might lose their chance to win La Decima. Once the corner was his, Luka Modric took control, and fans saw Ronaldo's failed corner kicks as a lost opportunity to win the game.

But in the 93rd minute, Sergio Ramos leaped high and scored on a header to tie the score. Real Madrid advanced to overtime thanks to the Ramos header. Eventually, Real scored three goals against Atletico and destroyed them. Bale opened the scoring, and then Marcelo tacked on another. In extra time, Ronaldo converted from the penalty spot to seal a 4-1 victory.

3. David Beckham

Last minute goals in football history
David Beckham of England celebrates his goal during the FIFA 2002 World Cup Qualifier vs Greece at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on October 6, 2001. Photo: Frank Coppi
Source: Getty Images

Match: England vs. Greece

England qualified for the finals of the 2002 World Cup with a tie against Mexico. Sheringham scored for England in the 68th minute, but England was still trailing Greece 2-1 in stoppage time. Therefore, they would have to face Ukraine in the playoffs, which was always tricky. On the other hand, David Beckham had a different plan, despite his five missed free-kills in a row.

Beckham came through for England in crucial moments against Japan and Korea. In a nail-biting qualifying encounter at Old Trafford, the Three Lions captain scored an outrageous freekick in the 93rd minute.

Beckham's status as a national hero was restored after he led England to two World Cup appearances. His goal was one of the most famous goals in football history. His goal was good enough for third place in our list of the top 15 goals scored in the final minute of a football game.

2. Sergio Aguero

Most famous goals in football history
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero goes past QPR's Taye Taiwo to score the winning goal to win the Premier League at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on May 10, 2015. Photo: Ed Garvey
Source: Getty Images

Match: Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers

There hasn't been a more exciting fight for a league championship than the 2011-12 Premier League season. Manchester City and Manchester United were tied for first place on the points table with a game to play.

Dzeko scored on a header after the referee signaled five additional minutes, making the score 2-2. In the same vein, Manchester United eventually won the game and finished with 89 points as time ticked away at the Stadium of Light.

After seeing City draw 2-2 against QPR, who were in danger of relegation, United believed they had won their sixth title in seven years. Sometime later, the Augerooooo occurred, and Aguero scored the game-winning goal at the 93:20 mark. After 40 years, Manchester City finally won a league championship thanks to Aguero. This was one of the most dramatic last-minute goals in football history.

1. Teddy Sherringham and Ole Gunner Solsjaer

Best long-distance goals in football history
Manchester United's Ole Gunner Solskjaer skips past Bayern Munich's Steffan Effenberg during their Champions League Group A match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Photo: Nick Potts
Source: Getty Images

Match: Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich

The sixth minute saw Bayern Munich take the lead thanks to a freekick from Mario Basler. Bayern's name was sculpted onto the trophy, and ribbons adorned its base. As the assistant referee signaled for four additional minutes, Teddy Sheringham scored 36 seconds later on a volley from a Beckham corner.

United had forced extra time. But they picked off the ball early, leading to another corner. Beckham, true to form, once again occupied the outside position. United went up 2-1 in the 92nd minute when Sheringham headed the ball toward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who scored one of the best last-minute goals in football history.

Ultimately, the goal was so damaging for Bayern that they could not even get back up to continue playing. Manchester United's success in the Champions League made them the first English team to win the international treble.

There have been so many best last-minute goals in football history that it might be challenging to pick out the truly exceptional ones. But Ole Gunnar's late goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions league was super dramatic and our top pick.

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Kevin Omuya photo
Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.