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Thursday 17 October 2013

On this day in 2009: Freak goal stuns Liverpool

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall a Sunderland win thanks to a beach ball

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

17 October 2009 – Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool

A  Darren Bent goal after five minutes helped Sunderland climb above Liverpool with victory over Rafael Benitez's side at the Stadium of Light.

The goal was unusual in that Bent's shot, on its way past Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal, had deflected off a beach ball that had crept on to the pitch from the end containing the Liverpool supporters.

Despite the lucky nature of the goal Sunderland were not fortunate to have claimed the win. In front of nearly a full house, Steve Bruce's team largely dominated a Liverpool side playing an unfamiliar 5-4-1 formation and missing Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres through injury.

In seven minutes of stoppage time Dirk Kuyt had a chance to claim a late equaliser but Craig Gordon blocked the Dutchman’s shot before saving the follow-up from Ryan Babel.

After the match Bruce praised the performance of captain Lorik Cana.

"It's wrong on days like today to single out individuals but I think I've witnessed an exceptional performance from a central defender," he said of the Albanian. "He was unbelievable; great in the air, the tackles he made, the interceptions he made - and he passed it well, too. He can take a pat on the back for what he did. I thought we deserved it. These are the kind of days I came up here for."

  • Bent's shot in the fifth minute was heading towards Reina

  • But the shot was deflected by a beach ball that had strayed on to the pitch

  • The deflection took the ball past Reina for the only goal of the match

  • Liverpool manager Benitez was left frustrated by the defeat at the Stadium of Light

  • After the match Bruce singled out captain Cana for praise in withstanding Liverpool's attack

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember when a stray beach ball came to the aid of Sunderland