While most of the soccer happening right now is friendlies, MLS, and the African Cup of Nations (the final of which takes place later today), the beginning of the long marathon towards the Europa League group stages is in full swing. And already, Hamed Koné, an Ivorian striker who just joined Maltese club Gżira United last month, has saved his new club’s place in the competition with two incredible goals on Thursday.
The first of those is one of the best goals of the year: In the 69th minute, with the score knotted at 1-1—and the aggregate score 3-1 in favor of Croatian hosts Hajduk Split—Koné found himself facing away from goal with the ball coming his way. Koné smashed an overhead bicycle kick into the opposite top corner, giving Gżira United hope of advancing into the second round of Europa League qualifying:
With Gżira United trailing by one on aggregate, though, they still needed one more goal to advance, and so in stepped Koné again. In the 96th minute of regular time, the 31-year-old swerved a left-footed laser into the goal, giving his team the 3-3 aggregate draw, advancing due to the away goals rule:
Who says there’s no good club soccer in July?