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The Puskas Award may have already accepted its nominees for 2021, but Oxford City’s Elliot Benyon made his case for a late entry with a stunning strike on Sunday.
Oxford City, a Non-League side playing in the sixth tier of English football in the National League South, were pitted against Slough Town for their Boxing Day clash over the festive period.
With the scores locked at 1-1, the Slough goalkeeper Michael Edegbe comes way off his line to make a clearance but scuffs his effort on the 3G artificial pitch.
But the ball did not travel far and instead went straight towards Benyon, who controlled it with a perfect chest-down.
Spotting that the goal is still vacant with Edegbe retreating back to his goal-line, the midfielder tried his luck with a first-time volley on the bounce.
The 34-year-old struck the ball so cleanly that it simply sailed through the air without touching the ground and flew into the top corner, almost lifting the goal off the floor in the process.
That strike brought deafening cheers from the Oxford end as the players bundled Benyon on the side of the pitch.
And the goal itself turned out to be crucial as his side went on to clinch a 3-2 win to keep them top of the National South table.
Which goal should win the Puskas Award in 2021? Comment below.
Naturally, there were calls for the stunning strike to be included on the Puskas 2021 list, such as from the club itself.
Oxford made the inevitable comparison to David Beckham’s incredible strike for Manchester United against Wimbledon back in 1995 when they uploaded footage of the goal on social media.
“It’s Benyon not Beckham!” The club’s official Twitter account posted, alongside a video of the goal.
“Ell’s putting his nomination forward for the Puskas award. We could watch this all day!”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear likely that the fans’ calls for his goal to be recognised will be successful.
The 11 nominees for the Puskas Award were named at the Ballon d’Or ceremony earlier in December, with players such as Luis Diaz, Patrik Schick, Riyad Mahrez and Erik Lamela making the final cut.
The winner of the 2021 award will be announced at The Best FIFA Awards in Zurich on January 17, 2022.
While Benyon can look forward to framing a photo of that goal against Slough on his wall for the rest of his non-league days, his hopes of joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah in Puskas folklore are almost zero at this point.
At least there is always next year.
- In the News
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