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The physics behind Mohamed Salah’s wonder goal in Salzburg

Mohamed Salah’s physics-defying goal has to be seen to be believed. AS English’s resident boffins look at the trigonometry to find out just how difficult it was to score.

The physics behind Mohamed Salah’s wonder goal in Salzburg

He did it for Roma against Palermo in February 2016 and did it again last night to help Liverpool secure their place in the Champions League knockout round. Mohamed Salah is becoming a dab hand at scoring goals from seemingly impossible angles – even when he is under pressure and going hell for leather. He’s not the first player to have scored from such an acute angle of course – there have been some memorable ones over the years (Marco van Basten’s against the Soviet Union in 1988 springs to mind) but we thought it was as good an opportunity as any to calculate just how difficult Salah’s Salzburg strike was.

Tight angle: Mohamed Salah scores against RB Salzburg
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Tight angle: Mohamed Salah scores against RB SalzburgMichael ReganGetty Images

Salah had 1.3 metre target to aim for at the Red Bull Arena

The Egyptian was in a similar position to Van Basten – about five yards from the goal line and on the edge of the penalty area, 18 yards from the near post and 26 yards from the far post. From those figures, we can work out that Salah had a target angle of about 4.3 degrees, meaning that the area that he had to strike for the ball to go in was approximately 1.3 metres wide, from a distance of around 18 yards from goal. And if that wasn't difficult enough, let’s not forget that he had to do that almost at full sprint (he decelerated slightly before striking the ball) and under pressure from Salzburg keeper Cican Stankovic and centre-back Jérôme Onguéné. Even Reds manager Jürgen Klopp was lost for words when asked about it after the game, telling reporters, "How do I explain it? Thank God I don't have to!" A wonderful goal, one which shows all of the hard work with mini-goals on the practice pitches at Melwood was worthwhile.