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Tuesday 26 March 2013

On this day: Di Canio wonder goal stuns Dons

In series on Premier League's history, we look at a moment of magic from the West Ham striker

  • Paolo Di Canio scored 48 goals in a successful 5-year spell with the Hammers rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

26 March 2000: West Ham 2-1 Wimbledon

A sensational volley from talismanic Italian Paolo Di Canio helped West Ham United defeat struggling Wimbledon at the Boleyn Ground.

The former Sheffield Wednesday striker, who became a cult hero in east London after a host of spectacular goals during a five-year spell with the Hammers, stunned the home crowd with one of the greatest goals in the history of the Barclays Premier League with only eight minutes on the clock.

Trevor Sinclair provided the assist with a sweetly struck cross-field ball and Di Canio effortlessly latched on to it, on the volley, guiding it past the outstretched fingertips of Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan from an acute angle.

Sinclair turned from provider to scorer in the second half, as he doubled the hosts' advantage just short of the hour, while Michael Hughes scored a consolation for the visitors.  

"It was very lucky because I try a lot of times in training but every time I miss!"
Paolo Di Canio

Speaking after the match, Di Canio played down the brilliance of his goal: "It was very lucky because I try a lot of times in training but every time I miss! So, it was better today because I got it and I am very happy for this, especially because we won the game."

The Italian consistently proved his class in his time in East London. After arriving midway through the 1998/99 campaign, Di Canio scored five goals in 13 appearances as the club finished fifth in the Premier League, their highest finish since the League's inception in 1992.

In the 1999/00 campaign, that volley was one of 16 strikes in 30 league appearances as West Ham ended up in ninth. The veteran forward could not help the Hammers avoid relegation in 2002/03, however, despite the club despite accumulating 42 points.

Di Canio scored a total of 48 goals in 118 Barclays Premier League appearances for West Ham and scored 67 league goals in England overall, including his spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic.

Wimbledon's eight-year stay in the Premier League came to an end in 2000, as Bradford City pipped them to safety on the final day of the season with a win over Liverpool.

To watch Paolo Di Canio’s goal and see why he was a Cult Hero at the Boleyn Ground, click here.

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Key Points

  • looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A piece of action from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Paolo Di Canio's stunning volley in West Ham United's 2-1 win over Wimbledon