The momentary hesitation resulted to a blocked strike. The slight deflection shaved a few inches to the correct trajectory toward the lower side of the goal. The ball swerved out.
He leaped off his chair, disgusted that a sure shot missed. Curses.
“Come on! My grandmother can run faster!”
The left midfielder eluded his pursuer, crisscrossing the field to fool a pair of dedicated defensive backs. He was thirty yards from the last defender: the goal keeper began to come forward to decrease the angles of attack.
“Ha, ha, ha!” his almost insane laughter reverberated with the impending winning shot. “You’re blind if you miss.”
Fifteen yards between the two protagonists, other players came forward to defend the unguarded goal while the striker’s team mates massed in front to either receive a pass or follow up a rebound.
“Go! Go!” He could hear his own commanding voice trying to influence the outcome of the play.
Indecision crossed the striker’s mind. The gap between the keeper and the left post was too narrow to attempt a clean shot. Moving toward the center, on the other hand, denied him of chances: defenders had corrected the lapse in defense.
He slowed down, glancing at the rolling ball for an instant, then looking at hunched keeper who expected an imminent shot. He made his decision: now or never.
His left foot struck the left side of the ball, propelling it in the air, moving straight at first. As the ball passed the outstretched arms of the keeper, it suddenly curled to right, traveling swiftly to its final destination.
Everyone held their breaths: the camera panned, displaying standing crowds, all in various poses of suspense. That short silence was unbelievably magical.
Players of both sides seemed hypnotized following the ball’s flight: the defenders prayed for a miss while the attackers wished for the unthinkable.
“Oh, God! Please! Please! Push it in!” He could not look. Even he himself could not believe that he was kneeling with his hands clasped as if in supplication for a miracle.
The ball hit the inside part of the right post, sliding inward to confirm what could be one of the best shots of the season.
The stadium erupted with celebration. On the pitch, the striker ran like a headless chicken, triumphant of his feat. His team mates could not catch up with him,
“Yes! Yes!” he shouted with all his might. He jumped all over the place as if he was a little boy receiving his most wanted gift.
Then, he heard a loud yell from the outside.
“What’s the matter? Do you know it’s already midnight? Shut the hell up!”
He grinned like a hyena. He would not let a silly remark dampened his elation.
“Sorry, man!” he shouted back. “Won’t happen again.”