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EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 31: Goalkeeper possession

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

In Play of the Week 31 we are discussing when a goalkeeper is in control of the ball and is not allowed to be challenged by an opponent.

The particular play we are looking at is from the Orlando City versus Montreal Impact game, at 42:33, and we will examine possible reasons why the refereeing crew did not penalize, and allowed a goal to stand.

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In this play, Orlando’s Luke Boden inadvertently plays the ball to an opponent, Montreal’s Rafael Ramos, who then moves into the penalty area. The ball goes to team-mate Nigel Reo-Coker who crosses it into the goal area.

Orlando goalkeeper Tally Hall then makes a save and has his hands on top of the ball, which is on the ground when Impact’s Dominic Oduro kicks it, freeing it from out of Hall’s control, to score the equalizing goal.

If we consider what the Law says:

“A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball: 

– While the ball is between his hands or between his hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body)

– While holding the ball in his outstretched open hand

– While in the act of bouncing it on the ground or tossing it in the air

“When a goalkeeper has gained possession of the ball with his hands, he cannot be challenged by an opponent.”

The goalkeeper has control of the ball as it is between his hands and the ground. Therefore an offense has been committed as he cannot be challenged by an opponent. The goal should not stand.

So why did the match officials allow this?

When referees fail to see an offense, it is down to their positioning in the vast majority of times. In this case the nearest AR, Kermit Quisenberry, doesn’t have a clear view due to players in his line of vision.

We have to remember that an AR’s positioning is prescriptive, level with the second last defender, and they have not got the luxury of being able to create a better viewing angle.

Referee Edvin Jurisevic’s position certainly isn’t terrible but it could have been improved. If you look at his starting position when Boden has the ball, Jurisevic is some 40 yards away in the center circle as he is expecting a clean pass to team-mate Lewis Neal. He doesn’t anticipate the possibility of an interception by Ramos.

This means he now has to make up a lot of ground to catch up with play. His movements, from an almost stationary position, sprinting then attempting to create a better viewing angle is valiant and, to his credit, makes up a lot of ground, but he is fighting a losing battle.

At the moment Oduro kicks the ball out of the keeper’s hands, he is some 25 yards away, which is too far in this instance to judge whether Hall has possession of the ball or whether it slipped out of his control before Oduro plays it.

If we go back to the moment Boden has the ball with two opponents closing him down, Jurisevic has to consider the possibility of an interception at this stage and be 10 yards closer to the penalty area. By the time the incident in question occurred he would have been situated just inside the penalty area which would have enabled him to see, recognize, act and even ‘smell’ the offense.



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