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David Ospina’s goal-line clearance was even closer to a Spurs goal than you think

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David Ospina kept Harry Kane from scoring a second goal in the NLD. But exactly how close was it? Let's find out. FOR SCIENCE!

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur were suuuuuper close to scoring a third goal today. Harry Kane had a thunderous volley in in the box midway through the second half that was palmed away by David Ospina and was deemed to not have crossed the line thanks to goal line technology.

This came just minutes before Tottenham scored two goals to take the lead in the second half, and certainly was the closest near-goal I've seen since the advent of Hawk-Eye in the Premier League. But just how close was it? Let's investigate!

It's important to note first and foremost that we're dealing with some nebulous assumptions. First, we have to determine exactly how wide the goal line is. According to FIFA's Laws of the Game (p 7), the width of the lines themselves can vary but must not exceed 12 cm (5") in width. So let's assume the lines are 12 cm. wide. We also have to assume that the image we're dealing with is a) accurate and b) more or less taken from directly over the top of the ball. I'm not certain about either assumption, but whatever. To the math!

I hated math in school, but I know enough to know that what we need to do is measure the width of the line, measure the distance from the beginning of the line to the edge of the ball, and do some... numbery jiggery-pokery. (Where's Michael Caley when you need him?)

The only somewhat reliable tool I have to accurate measure the width of a line is in Adobe Illustrator, which gives me the width of the goal line in this image as 56.33 pt. Good enough for me!

line width

So, now that we have the width of the line established, all we need now is to measure the length from the edge of the line to the edge of the ball. My best guess, according to our friends from Adobe, is 45.33 pts. Remember, this is important!

width-to-ball

Now if I did my math right (and I did because Internet), 45.33 is exactly 80.4722% of 56.33. Calculate that out as a percentage of 12 centimeters, invert it, and you get...

Spurs missed a goal by 2.35 cm (1.2 0.92 inches). Holy crap.

Edit: I told you I hated math.

There would be other ways to determine this as well -- start with the width of the ball, determine the percentage that did not cross the line, and work out that way. Maybe that'd be more accurate? There's probably other variables that I'm not thinking of, too. In the end it probably doesn't really matter.

Now, there's no controversy here. Ospina made a great reaction save. The goal line technology worked as it was supposed to and Harry Kane didn't score. But my goodness, you will very very rarely see a goal disallowed by a smaller margin.

Just another in a sizable list of what-ifs for Tottenham coming out of the North London Derby.