It’s the most difficult shooting technique in the game, the side volley. With the ball flashing across your body, you’ve got to combine balance, technique and precision in equal measure.
I used to have a youth soccer coach who’d launch cross-field passes at us and tell us to attack the ball after letting it drift across our body. We’d all be tripping and slicing attempts while he screamed “aim small, miss small!” It was traumatizing.
If you hit it right, you’re going to look like Zinedine Zidane. Hit it wrong and you definitely should’ve just trapped it. The timing needs to be immaculate, you need to connect perfectly through the middle of the ball with the top of your foot and your follow through has to be more concise than a Russian ballet performance.
But, with great risk comes great reward. In a Russian Premier League match between Rubin Kazan and Spartak Moscow, Ivelin Popov opened the scoring for Spartak with this sensational side volley.
He nails every single part of the technique. His connection with the ball sends it thundering off the crossbar, down to the goal-line and back into the roof of the net. That, my friends, is bonus points in our book.
Rubin Kazan would go on to find an equalizer, and the match would end in a draw.
After four weeks of Russian Premier League action, Spartak currently sit atop the table with 10 points from four matches.
Alex Song’s Rubin Kazan currently sit 13th in the 16-team league.
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