Football Language: To Gift
This phrase uses what is usually a noun, ‘a gift‘ as a verb, ‘to gift.’ If you gift someone something, you give them something, and in football this phrase is most often used with the object ‘ball’ or ‘goal.’ You gift someone the ball, which means you give the other team the ball usually by mistake; the opposition didn’t have to try hard to get the ball. Similarly, if you gift a team a goal, you allow them to score, usually by being lax, lazy, in defence. Basically it is the same meaning as to give away.
Example: Hull City manager Nigel Adkins:“We’ve gifted them a goal and they’ve had something to hang onto. They’ve put everyone behind the ball and it’s up to us to break them down.” (BBC February 2018)
Example: Two calamitous errors from Fabien Barthez gifted Thierry Henry two goals and Arsenal the points at a joyous Highbury. (BBC November 2001)