Pedro Goncalves wonder-strike in Europa League against Arsenal an immediate contender for Puskas Award – ‘Take a bow!’

Sporting CP winger Pedro Goncalves scored one of the goals of the season from almost halfway to leave Arsenal fans with their jaws on the floor during the two sides’ Europa League clash on Thursday night.

The 24-year-old picked up a loose ball just inside his own half and took a few strides forward before launching a dipping missile of a shot over the head of Aaron Ramsdale and into the net.

Goncalves took the shot from just inside the Arsenal half, evoking memories of famous goals of a similar ilk from the likes of Wayne Rooney and David Beckham.

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It was a crucial goal, too, taking the last-16 tie level 1-1 on the night and to 3-3 on aggregate to ultimately force extra-time and penalties, whereupon Sporting won it.

“It is a stunning way for Sporting to level the tie – one of the goals of the season. take a bow, Pedro Goncalves,” said BT Sport commentator Adam Summerton.

Comparisons were quickly being made with famous historic goals from down the years.

Beckham scored an iconic goal from halfway for Manchester United against Wimbledon in 1996, one of the standout moments of his early career.

Xabi Alonso went one further, scoring from well inside his own half for Liverpool against Newcastle in 2006.

Another that Arsenal fans will remember – albeit reluctantly – is Nayim’s outstanding strike for Real Zaragoza to beat David Seaman in the 1995 Cup Winners’ Cup final, from a huge distance way out on the right wing.

Dejan Stankovic’s outrageous spontaneous volley from halfway for Inter Milan against Schalke 04 in the Champions League also lives long in the memory.

That’s before we even get to Charlie Adam’s missile from inside his own half for Stoke against Chelsea or Wayne Rooney’s effort from a similar distance for DC United against Orlando.

Gabriel of Arsenal looks on as Pedro Goncalves of Sporting CP scores the team’s first goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 leg two match between Arsenal FC and Sporting CP at Emirates Stadium on March 16, 2023 in London, England.

Image credit: Getty Images

It’s a glorious pantheon of goals and one that Goncalves will join after his spectacular effort at the Emirates.

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