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First Goal stats - updated on: 20 Jul 2020

How do we find which teams have been the best at scoring the first goal? The team with the best attack is not necessarily the best team at scoring first. Here we're reviewing some of the tables we can use to identify which teams have been the most successful at scoring the opening goal.

We will also take a look at which minutes during the games such goals been scored on for each team on average. We will also cover ways to check how each team has been performing in the matches where they scored the first goal, and in those were their opponents scored first.

All players are back from the break and the referee is getting ready to kick-off the last 45 minutes. It's still 0-0 and we're wondering if we are ever going to see a goal in this match.

Hardly any clear chance created in the first half, solid defending on both sides, packed midfield... Pending any improbable reboot decided on the tactical front by either team during the break, it looks as if a goal might only come as a result of an accident or a misunderstanding in that game.

Attacking power vs ability to score first

It feels rather odd though, both teams are quite decently ranked and not even close to the bottom half of the offense table. This is a typical example of how statistics alone can come short when trying to understand such type of situations. We look at the stats and we would tend to think that two teams having scored a decent amount of goals during the season are not the most likely to produce 0-0 results.

However there can be many reasons for this. Those teams may well be good at scoring goals, they simply could be even better at defending. Or maybe those teams do not produce 0-0 scorelines regularly, but their tactical choices for today's game do. Or it could also be that the tactics have not changed, but the strong points of one team are precisely the ones that the strong points of the other team are more likely to offset.


Scoring dynamics

Those who understand the game at a deeper level might be able to shed some light on these situations, when analysed individually. However if we are to only look at how far the stats could be used to understand, maybe not why such a situation is happening, but whether or not it can be seen as a "surprise", we need to look beyond the offense / defense tables.

For example, we could check if there isn't anything visible in the dynamics observed regarding the scoring patterns for those teams (for example, a team's ability to lead and defend a lead or its ability to equalize, from the lead-taking goals and equalizers scored statistical tables).

First Goal

Such statistical tables can show if a team has been good at taking the lead (not just scoring the first goal) or equalizing, and the First Goal table can help uncover which teams have been more successful than others at scoring the first goal of the match.

The table shows, for each team, the number of matches where the team scored the first goal of the match, the number of matches where no goal was scored, and the number of matches where their opponents have scored the opening goal. The data is shown for home matches, away matches and for home and away matches combined.

Opening goal times

In addition to which teams have scored the first goal the most often, or the least often, it can also be interesting to take a look at when those opening goals have been scored on average during the matches.

Opening goals scored

This table shows for each team:

  • The number of opening goals scored (the number of matches where the team has scored the first goal of the match)
  • The average minutes when those opening goals were scored
  • The number of opening goals scored in each 15-minute time segment
  • The percentage of opening goals scored in each half

Opening goals conceded

That table uses the same structure as the Opening Goals Scored table, but obviously enough only focuses on matches where each team's opponents had scored the first goal of the match.


Opening goals scored or conceded

One more table using the same structure, but in that particular case, the objective is to take into account the first goal of the match itself, whether scored by the team or by the opponents.

Team performance depending on first goal

When we get the feeling that our team has been "losing points" quite often during the season, this is the type of table that may provide some answers. Those tables show how many points have been picked up in matches where the team had scored the first goal and in matches where the team had conceded the first goal.

When team scored first

This table ranks team by Points Per Game only taking into account the matches where the team has scored the first goal of the match. The table shows for each team:

  • The number of matches where the team scored the first goal
  • The percentage of matches where the team scored the first goal
  • The number of those "Scored First" matches that the team ended up winning, drawing and losing
  • The number of points picked up in the "Scored First" matches
  • The average Points Per Game in the "Scored First" matches.

When opponent scored first

That table uses a similar structure as the When team scored first table, but only takes into account the matches where each team has conceded the first goal.


You can view an example of the First Goal tables for the Serie A or the 2. Bundesliga.

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