In football, there are subs and there are super subs. The only difference between the 2 is the impact the latter are able to produce upon their introduction into a game that badly needs a change in scoreline.
Here are 10 players in history who perfectly defined that.
Player : Nwankwo Kanu
Match : Arsenal vs Chelsea, 1999/2000 EPL season.
With the Blues looking to have sealed a victory with a 2 – 0 lead at the Stamford Bridge, the Nigerian star came on and single-handedly won the game for the Gunners with a hat-trick in 15 minutes. “Kan-U” believe it?
Player : Patrick Kluivert
Match : Ajax vs AC Milan, 1995 Champions League final.
Both sides had toiled all night with no goal produced, and with 5 minutes remaining, the game looked bound for extra time. Until the Dutch legend, only 18 years old at the time converted a Frank Rijkaard’s pass into a goal having just been brought in few minutes earlier.
Player : Tim Krul
Match : Netherlands vs Costa Rica, 2014 World Cup quarterfinals.
The Newcastle goalie was the star of the Louis van Gaal-led Dutch side at the tournament in Brazil. With the match heading into a penalty shootout session, LVG removed first choice goalie Jasper Cillessen on the 120th minute, and Krul came on to save 2 of Costa Rica’s kicks. Netherlands won 4–3.
Player : Kevin Prince-Boateng
Match : Lecce vs AC Milan, 2012/2013 Serie A season.
The Italian giants were 3 – 0 down at half time, and the ex Ghanaian international was introduced at the start of 2nd half. He scored a hat-trick in 14 minutes and Milan eventually won by 4 goals to 3.
Player : Lars Ricken
Match : Dortmund vs Juventus, 1996 Champions League final
With the scores at 2 – 1 and with 20 minutes remaining, Juve were pressing hard for that equalizer. But the introduction of the German changed that. He came on to fire in Dortmund’s 3rd goal from a distance, and he did it on his 17th second on the pitch.
Player : Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Match : Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest, 1998/1999 EPL season.
Perhaps, it wouldn’t be far from the truth if the baby-faced Norwegian is regarded as the best squad player ever. One of his many super substitution appearances came during the Red Devils treble-winning season. In a 8–1 win mauling of Nottingham Forest, the substitute striker notched a haul in 11 minutes.
Player : Oliver Bierhoff
Match : Germany vs Czech Republic, 1996 European Championships final.
When the golden goal rule still applied, the Germans benefited hugely from it some 20 years ago. Czech were holding on to a 1 – 0 lead until the introduction of Bierhoff, and after scoring the equalizer, he went ahead to seal the title for his side with a goal in extra time which instantly brought the game to an end.
Player : Francesco Totti
Match : AS Roma vs Torino, 2015/2016 Serie A season.
As the season drew to an end in Italy in April, Roma were trailing Torino until the 86th minute by 2 – 1. The 40-year-old was brought in and he scored a brace in quick succession (87th minute header and 89th minute penalty) to seal all 3 points for the Wolves.
Player (s) : Sherringham and Solskjær
Match : Manchester United vs Bayern Munich, 1999 Champions League final.
This match is definitely one of the most memorable Champions League finals of all time. Bayern maintained a 6th minute lead up until the 90th minute. By that time, Bayern Munich ribbons had already been secured to the trophy as preparations were being made to crown them Champions. On the 91st minute, Sherringham, a 2nd half substitute seemingly forced the game into extra time with his equalizer. Some 30 seconds later, United got another corner, and another substitute who had come on with 10 minutes to play, Solskjær snatched the winner at the death.
Player : Mario Gotze
Match : Argentina vs Germany, 2014 World Cup final.
Joachim Löw’s instructions to the Dortmund star prior to his substitution in the 88th minute of the game was,
“Show the world you are better than Messi and can decide the World Cup.”
The first part of the statement was definitely an hyperbole, but the 2nd part came to fruition as an 113th minute goal, 7 minutes to the final whistle of extra time secured the title for Germany, with Gotze becoming the first substitute to score a World Cup winning goal.
Any better super subs than this 10? Let’s know in the comment section below.