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Monday, 29 January, 2001, 16:00 GMT
Di Canio's Goal of the Week

BBC Sport Online's Goal of the Week simply has to be Paolo di Canio's psychological victory over Manchester United's Fabien Barthez.

It might not have been the Italian master's finest strike this season and was not even as spectacular as his equaliser at the Valley just six days previously.

But in terms of ice-cool finishing it has surely not been bettered all season.

Di Canio was not bothered by Barthez's gamesmanship - his now infamous hand in the sky.

Barthez with arm up, Di Canio strikes on goal
Halt, who goes there? Di Canio did not care
And in this battle of wills between two of the Premiership's most eccentric characters it was the Italian who exposed the Frenchman's arrogant antics.

"What was Barthez doing?" asked BBC Five Live commentator Alan Green, and he was not alone.

Millions of TV viewers and more than 60,000 in the stadium were also bemused.

But not Di Canio, who shrugged off the hopes of the majority of the massive audience and the unconventional goalkeeper.

The goal itself was a well-worked move, and apart from the Italian it was a goal made in France.

Throughout the match wing-back Sebastien Schemmel was an effective raider down the right and he started the move.

The loan signing from Metz - on his second appearance for the club - played the ball inside to compatriot Frederick Kanoute.


He stood still, Di Canio didn't
  BBC Five Live's Alan Green neatly summed up Barthez's role

West Ham's mercurial front pair then linked superbly and caught out a flat-footed United defence.

Kanoute's ball down the inside right channel was perfectly weighted for Di Canio's angled run, with Dennis Irwin crucially playing the Italian onside.

The former Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday has been accused of failing to perform on the biggest stage in the past.

But, after a quick glance across at a well-positioned assistant referee, the Italian then only had eyes for the goal.

Barthez had other ideas, and infamously pointed to the heavens as if hailing a taxi or holding up the traffic.

The watching TV audience expected to see Di Canio stop followed by a shot of a linesman's flag pointing the same way as the goalkeeper's hand.

But Di Canio finished with style as Barthez belatedly realised the game was up and desparately pushed out a foot.

The TV director's next shot was of a few thousand West Ham fans going wild - and tens of thousands of the United faithful scratching their heads.

Only the sight of Barthez himself scoring an equaliser would have eclipsed this in the Goal of the Week stakes.

And despite some late forward raids from the keeper, it was destined never to happen.

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28 Jan 01 |  FA Cup
Di Canio sinks Man Utd
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