The Ghost Goal term in the English language arose from a quote by Chelsea manager José Mourinho, following the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League semi-final against Liverpool.
It was ultimately decided by a single goal by Luis García, awarded by referee Ľuboš Micheľ, but dubbed a “ghost goal” and described as “a goal that came from the moon” by Mourinho.
Television replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball crossed the line or not. Micheľ said that his decision was based on the reaction of the assistant referee Sylsko, who signalled that the ball had indeed crossed over the line.
He also added had he not awarded Liverpool the goal, he would have awarded them a penalty kick and sent off Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech for a foul on Milan Baroš instead.
It was a goal that came from the moon – from the Anfield stands. I felt the power of Anfield, it was magnificent.
I felt it didn’t interfere with my players but maybe it interfered with other people and maybe it interfered with the result.
The best team lost. After they scored only one team played, the other one just defended for the whole game.
Liverpool scored, if you can say that they scored, because maybe you should say the linesman scored. They are in the final and from my heart I hope they win it.
The night belongs to them and I don’t want to criticize them.
To give a goal, the ball must be 100% in and he must be 100% sure that the ball is in. My players say it was not a goal. Only one person decided the future of the teams and of players who have never played a Champions League final.
The linesman who gave the goal
The Slovakian linesman in question, Sylsko told the Evening Standard: “I am 100% convinced it was a goal. I believe my decision was correct. I saw it clearly. I was adequately positioned for the situation.”
Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, however, was not convinced that the Slovakian official was in the right place to see if it was a legitimate goal.
The linesman was standing in such a position that he simply could not see the ball as Gallas blocked it with his body.
I was surprised the referees decided the goal was scored, when they could not see it. I asked him (the assistant referee) how he could be so sure that it was a goal.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez argued that even if the goal had not been given, the Reds should have been given a penalty for Cech’s challenge on Milan Baros in the lead-up.
But Cech added: “I just occupied the space. Milan hit the ball and then he jumped into me. In my opinion it could not be a penalty.”
Milan Baros, who was fouled by Petr Cech
Baros disagreed. He told the Czech News Agency: “At least it should have been a penalty. He flew at me, I think he even did not hit the ball. But it is not important now.”
The linesman couldn’t have seen it. Wrong call by him.
Liverpool would have gotten a penalty. Correct. Petr Cech would have been sent off.
The referee said, “I believe Chelsea would have preferred the goal to count rather than face a penalty with just ten men for the rest of the game. If my assistant referee had not signalled a goal, I would have given a penalty and sent off goalkeeper Petr Čech.”
Do we agree with the referee?
No we don’t. For example John Terry was sent off against Barcelona in Champions League second leg in 2012. Chelsea played with ten men at Camp Nou against a Barcelona side flying high and still drew and advanced through to the final. There was a penalty missed by none other than Lionel Messi as well.
Liverpool would have been favorites to win the match, had Cech been sent off. But Mourinho’s side were no strangers to play with ten men and were masters of counter-attack. Two wrongs don’t make a right.