Ghost goal strikes again as Bayer Leverkusen beat Hoffenheim thanks to a Stefan Kiessling header which went through a hole in the side netting

Hoffenheim are protesting against the result after the ball clearly went wide of the post, only to end up in the back of the net

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The Independent Football

Bundesliga side Hoffenheim will protest against their 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen last night after Stefan Kiessling’s 70th minute header was awarded as a goal despite the ball clearly going wide of the post and through a hole in the side netting.

Referee Felix Brych failed to see that the ball did not cross the goal-line, although Kiessling’s reaction suggested who knew exactly what had happened as he held his head in his hands in disbelief that he had missed the target.

But after a few seconds of confusion had passed, the Leverkusen players realised that Brych had awarded the goal, to which the Hoffenheim players accepted as the ball was in the back of the net.

Hoffenheim’s managing director Alexander Rosen said: “It’s a scandal. That was no goal, there are no two ways about it.

“We are definitely going to protest.”

Brych defended himself by admitting that the players didn’t give him any signal that the ball hadn’t gone in, and when he saw that the ball was in the net he felt it necessary to award a goal.

"I had a slight doubt but the reaction from the players was clear - nobody was against [the decision]," Brych said.

"I checked with Kiessling. But no-one, not even him, said that it wasn't a goal. The ball was in the net and for everyone on the pitch it was a legitimate goal."

Of course, this is not the first time the infamous ghost goal has struck, especially in Germany. In 1994, Bayern Munich beat Nuremburg thanks to a goal that never was from defender Thomas Helmer, giving them a 2-1 victory.

However, a complaint was lodged and the German Football Association ordered a replay of the match, which Bayern went on to win 5-0.

On these shores, the last ghost goal to be seen was at Vicarage Road, where linesman Nigel Bannister signalled that Watford midfielder John Eustace had put the ball into his own net when he had really knocked it out for a corner. Despite the goal giving Reading a 1-0 lead, Watford were able to claw back a 2-2 draw.

There was also a similar incident at Bristol City, when Crystal Palace’s Freddie Sears’ shot hit the base of the goal, flying in and back out and leading to referee Rob Shoebridge giving a goal kick. Palace went on to lose 1-0.

"It's definitely bitter for us and something like this has already happened once, and that game was replayed so I think we're going to see this game again,” said Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol.

"Anything else would be a joke. You can't replay a Bayern Munich game, but not a Hoffenheim game."

Meanwhile, the goalscorers Kieesling admitted his surprise at how the ball managed to end up in the back of the net.

"I didn't really see it, I turned away but I was surprised to see the ball in. I didn't know how it got in,” the striker admitted.