The Best FIFA Football Awards
- Andros Townsend’s stunning 30-yard volley up for Puskás Award
- Goal helped Crystal Palace to historic victory over Manchester City
- Vote by Monday 1 September
When you’re facing Pep Guardiola’s possession kings Manchester City, every touch you take counts. Crystal Palace travelled to the home of the champions in December 2018, and one single hit of the ball by winger Andros Townsend certainly had an impact – in a plethora of ways.
Townsend may be well known in England for his long-range efforts – 11 of his 20 Premier League goals have been from outside the box – but he surely surpassed any of his previous strikes from distance with this rocket.
Come December 2018, Guardiola’s side had fortified the home of the champions into a seemingly unconquerable castle. But Townsend’s rocket played its part in a stunning victory which shook the Premier League.
After going behind, the Palace No10 put the away side 2-1 up, turning the game on its head and ultimately helping his team to a 3-2 win. City had won their opening nine home games of the campaign on the bounce, scoring 33 and conceding just six – but their visitors’ first away win in this fixture for 28 years left the champions four points off Liverpool at the Premier League summit and with it all to do in the title race.
The goal itself
Cystal Palace had registered only had one effort at goal before Townsend took aim in the 35th minute, and that was Jeff Schlupp’s equaliser two minutes prior. City’s relentless pressure had seen them pepper Palace’s goal with seven attempts (plus Ilkay Gundogan’s opener), but in this match it was the quality of the strike rather than the quantity of efforts which bore fruit for the visitors.
It took three attempts for the hosts to attempt to clear Patrick van Aanholt’s curled free kick from the Palace left – but Townsend needed just one touch to rifle his venomous volley past the helpless Ederson. The City keeper could get nowhere near the sumptuous strike, which continued rising until it almost tore through the Brazilian goalkeeper’s net.
What he said
“I knew I had to take it first time because the way Manchester City press,” Townsend told cpfc.co.uk after the game. “If you take a touch it would have probably ended in a counter attack and I hit it clean so as soon as it left my foot I knew it had a very good chance of going in. It was a big moment in the game and gave us a big lift. Having watched it back it was definitely the best goal of my career.”
What they said
“Andros Townsend’s goal was magnificent, a wonderful strike on goal. He had a good performance, he is very happy with himself. As it came to him I thought ‘that’s not a bad body shape.’ I wouldn’t say I thought he was going to score but he gave himself a chance.”
Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace manager – speaking to Goal
What happened next?
- Townsend scored nine in all competitions – his best goalscoring season – as Palace finished 12th in the Premier League
- City were again defeated (by Leicester City) four days later – but rallied and won the title by a single point
- The goal itself was named Palace’s goal of the season, the London Football Awards goal of the season and Premier League goal of the season
Do you think Townsend’s rocket should pick up the ultimate prize: the FIFA Puskás Award?