smuggle the ball


This is football (soccer). The use of "smuggle" seems to sound strange to me here. I know it essentially means to bring, take or put, etc surreptitiously. So, I wonder, in football, whether there is a special meaning for this?
United aren't lying down here.
Lingard smuggles the ball into Anthony Martial in the penalty area, but Craig Dawson, who has had a great first half, makes a crucial tackle.
FT: West Brom 1-0 Man Utd
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It suggests that it was difficult to get the ball to Martial because of the presence of defenders. If you want to smuggle something, you have to choose the right route, so the idea here is that Lingard's pass was clever, accurate and difficult.