Gave a goal vs. concended a goal

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WRONG: Canada gave us a goal in the first minute of the game.
RIGHT: We conceded a goal against Canada in the first minute of the game.

Do you like watching hockey or football? Enjoy talking about it to your friends? Well, this week’s Czenglish focus is a sporting one.

Many times my students have been describing what happened in a hockey game and have said something like – ‘…and then Canada gave us a goal.’ Now this to me sounds good. You give someone a gift and it sounds like the sporting equivalent of that. But no – in Czech, it actually means the opposite doesn’t it? It means Canada scored against the Czech Republic. Canada are winning 1-0.

So to say a team ‘gave’ you a goal in English is completely wrong. We have a special word for when someone scores against us – conceded. It is a negative thing that a team does, so you need to flip the teams around – we conceded a goal against Canada.

Confused? Know what we say when a team allow us to score a very easy goal? We say they ‘gifted’ us a goal! Let’s put both phrases together:

A: I was watching the game against Canada last night and after one minute, we conceded a goal!

B: Was it a good goal?

A: It was terrible. Our goalkeeper passed the ball to one of their players. We gifted it to them!