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Former World Champion tells Ray Houghton Italian Giants Stadium Goal was a fluke

In Ireland, it’s known as a wonderfully executed audacious lob that secured possibly the greatest Irish football win ever, for former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi it’s the fluke that broke his heart back in 1994.

Ray Houghton’s finish against Italy at the Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at World Cup USA in 1994 sent the nation into a state of ecstasy – and is still greatly remembered to this day.

Having suffered defeat at the hands of hosts Italy during the 1990 World Cup at the quarter-final stage, it was somewhat fitting the Boys in Green faced the Azzurri on the opening day of the following tournament in 1994.

Ireland all but had home advantage this time around thanks to a huge Irish presence in the 75,000-seater stadium and the thousands of Irish in attendance and the millions watching around the world celebrated a famous win, thanks in particular to Houghton’s strike and a sensational display by Paul McGrath.

As it brought so much joy and still brings back good memories, nobody Irish will hear a bad word said about the finish beyond the then best goalkeeper in the world Gianluca Pagliuca.

However, anyone that has heard Paulie Malignaggi’s tv commentary knows he isn’t afraid to say it as he sees it, and anyone whose seen his Conor McGregor comments over the years knows the former European champion isn’t concerned with upsetting Irish folk.

So when asked by IrishFanTV about his memories of USA 94 and that famous game in particular the football-following American with strong Italian roots wasn’t afraid to joke about Houghton’s strike being a fluke, and revealed he told the former player as much in a jestful phone conversation.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years