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Soccer

Erik Lamela, Oh My God

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

It didn’t seem possible that anyone would be able to produce a goal this season that would match Bruno Fernandes’s arcing wonder in terms of beauty and audacity. But all such doubts were dismissed in the 33rd minute of today’s North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham, when Spurs attacker Erik Lamela did this:

Like all legendary goals, this one gets better with each additional viewing from every angle. What at full speed looked like a hastily snapped shot that squiggled into the far corner of the goal is revealed to be not only a rabona, but one that nutmegged one defender and froze another in his tracks on its way across the goalmouth.

This is a rabona in its idealized form. Not only did the shot completely catch Arsenal’s defenders and keeper by surprise, it struck the ball hard enough to make it so Lamela didn’t lose any pace on the ball by opting for a trick shot in order to use his stronger foot. If you were to spend a week trying to recreate this exact goal in laboratory conditions, I don’t think you’d end up with a version more perfect than what we saw.

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