The Europa League is a competition top clubs hate getting shunted off into due to all the extra games and miles it imposes on the team, all for a title basically nobody cares about. The quality of play is still high enough that lower-level clubs don’t win it, but not so high that anyone should take it all that seriously until about the quarterfinals. However, there is one thing that the Europa League can provide, and that is the ability to see shit you have never seen before.
Case in point: this goal from the Europa League qualifier between Croatian side HNK Rijeka and Danish side FC Copenhagen, which might as well be soundtracked by the Benny Hill music:
You have to feel bad for Peter Ankersen, who did nothing wrong and yet wound up playing the fatal touch for the own goal. In fact, Ankersen should be commended for his effort. Watch the clip again and follow the right back as he busts his ass to even get into position to affect the play.
Unfortunately for him, Ankersen would have been better off falling over like his teammates. There wasn’t a single other Rijeka player even on screen at the moment of truth, and if the ball doesn’t deflect off Ankersen, it’s likely not a goal. To add insult to injury, Ankersen also got stuck in the net afterwards.
Even Copenhagen fans had to be laughing at this bizarre escalation of gaffes, even though it gave Rijeka the win and ousted Copenhagen from the competition. It’s not as good as a Europa League trophy that now they can’t win, but it is an unforgettable moment. Sometimes it’s better to be memorable than to be good.