What is a Shot on Target?

A shot on target is an intentional shot that results in a goal or would have gone into the net but was stopped by the last defender or the goalkeeper.

Shots that hit the crossbar or the post are not shots on target.  Shots that are blocked by a defender who is not the last man, e.g. the goalkeeper is behind him, are not classed as on target.

A Shot on Target Explained

illustration player scores goal celebrating

Simply put, a shot on target is any goal attempt that goes straight into the net irrespective of the intent. It is also an apparent attempt to score, but the last man or the goalkeeper prevents it from converting into a goal, popularly known as the last line block.

For it to count as a shot on target, the player must intend to score and be on-side.  Free kicks and crosses that result in a shot on goal due to a deflection are not shots on target but shots off target.

If a shot is deflected into a goal by an opposition player and the original shot was not on target it is an own goal.  If a shot is deflected off a player on the same team then the shot on target goes to the player who last touched the ball.

Practical Examples

shot on goal close up ball and goalkeeper glove and netThe EPL features all types of outcomes that you might think of as a punter or player. In the 2019/2020 season, the shots on target averaged 8.5 per game. But this depends on the teams that are playing.

In October 2019, Leicester scored 9:0 against Southampton, a game that featured 18 shots on target. The same year, a match between Burnley and Bournemouth managed to master only one shot on target when they met in December.

What is Classed as a Shot on Target?

goal football shot on target

A shot on target is possibly more complicated than it should be, especially in the world of football, as there is always confusion about what qualifies and what doesn’t. Shots that are blocked by a player who isn’t the last man don’t qualify, for example.

Also, shots that hit the bar or post and those that occur after game officials have stopped play don’t count. For instance, if the linesman lifts the flag up to indicate an offside, and a player shoots a ball with the intention of scoring, that will not count as an on target.

Are Goal-Line Clearances Shots on Target?

The last line clearance is an interesting scenario for both fans and bettors. The ball must be beyond the reach of the goalkeeper, and the player who stops it has to be the last person.

In this case, the player who clears the ball is the closest to the line of the goal. In most cases, this occurs when the goalkeeper is out of the goal. Shots on target will be awarded to the players who make an attempt to score.

Is a Penalty Kick a Shot on Target?

For a penalty to be considered as a shot on target, it must either convert into a goal or the goalkeeper saves it. Penalty kicks that go wide of the post or hit the bar count as shots off target.

In most cases, penalties lead to shots on target because they are goal attempts, where players have intentions to get a goal.

Does a Goal Count as a Shot on Target?

Any goal counts as a shot on target because the scorer intended to score before shooting the ball. It doesn’t matter how the player scored the goal or whether the last person who touched the ball had the intent to score or not. The final result is a shot on target.

An own goal can’t be a shot on target as the original shot would need to be off target and then deflected on target for it to be classed as an own goal.  If the original shot is on target and deflects off an opposition players but still goes in this is not an own goal.  Own goals are only scored when the opposition player themselves creates the shot on target.

Is a Free Kick or Corner a Shot on Target?

Any free kick that goes into the net, or would have been a goal and saved by the last man block or goalkeeper, results in a shot on target.

It is really challenging to score direct from a corner kick but there’re a few instances where players can convert corners into goals. A corner will only be considered a shot on target if the player scores directly from the kicking point or forces the goalkeeper or last man to save it otherwise it would have gone in.

Is a Blocked or Deflected Shot Classed as a Shot on Target?

Defenders typically block shots, and in most cases, they prevent them from converting into goals. A shot that the last defender blocks to prevent a direct goal counts as a shot on target.

It does not count if the defender who blocked the ball isn’t the last man. A deflected shot that enters the net or the goalkeeper saves it is a shot on target only if the original shot was on target, otherwise it is either an own goal or a shot on target is awarded to the last player to touch the ball before it goes in the net.

Rules that Define a Shot on Target

There’re strict rules that define a shot on target. As long as a shot fulfils any of these rules, it’s considered a shot on target. These rules are:

  • Any shot that converts into a goal
  • Any shot that is going in and the last defender blocks it when the goalkeeper is out of the goal
  • Any shot that is going into the net but the goalkeeper saves it