SPORTS Putting the goal in goalkeeper

SPORTS

Putting the goal in goalkeeper

Global Times

19:21, August 13, 2020

Rogerio Ceni (Photo: VCG)

"Goals win the games" is the old cliché but as annoying as football's overused phrases are there is always good reason.

The result comes down to it - and as the criticism goes from fans of American sports, they are few and far between - but goal scorers are worth their weight in gold - well goals, if not more accurately silverware.

Sergio Aguero's last-minute strike to secure Manchester City's first English Premier League title springs to mind but there are hundreds if not thousands of other season-defining strikes.

More often than not this falls to strikers, the expected scorers of goals in any football formation - even in these days of false nines, inverted wingers and solo target men up top.

But sometimes, and often more famously, the goals come from the least likely of sources: goalkeepers.

The custodian is traditionally the last man, the stronghold guardian, but there are times when they throw caution to the wind and join the attack in a last throw of the dice, when results are needed and desperation demands.

Carlisle United's Jimmy Glass is one such example. The keeper, on loan to the Brunton Park side from Swindon Town, wrote himself into history with the Cumbrians in the final game of the 1998-99 season against Plymouth Argyle.

"So... deep, deep, deep, I make it sixty seconds. Jimmy Glass knocks it long. It comes now to Bagshaw. Bagshaw back to Anthony. Up to Stevens... and the ball goes out now for a corner to Carlisle United - will they have time to take it?" said BBC Radio Cumbria commentator on the fateful day of May 8, 1999.

"Referee looks at his watch... and here comes Jimmy Glass! Carlisle ­United goalkeeper Jimmy Glass is coming up for the kick - everyone is going up... there isn't one player in the Carlisle half!" the commentary continued as the clock ticked down with United facing elimination from the English Football League.

"Well, well... and the corner kick comes in... and... the goalkeeper's punch... oh... Jimmy Glass! Jimmy Glass! Jimmy Glass, the goalkeeper, has scored a goal for Carlisle United! There's a pitch invasion! There is a pitch invasion! The referee has been swamped - they're bouncing on the crossbar!"

Glass' strike kept the side up but it was one of only three appearances he would make for the club. He would retire at 27, failing to score another goal in his career.

Other goalkeepers have been much more important in front of the opposition goal.

Hans-Jorg Butt scored three goals in the UEFA Champions League. Each of them was penalties and each came against Italian giants Juventus.

The German scored those goals for three different clubs: Hamburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich.

He had scored many times from the spot for Hamburg, including his first against Juve, before moving to Leverkusen but his goal scoring exploits also came at a cost.

During the 2003-04 season, in a German Bundesliga game against Schalke 04, Butt scored from the spot before running back to his own goal for the restart. Missing the whistle, Butt was lobbed by the hosts' Mike Hanke from the kickoff after the referee whistled for the restart.

Butt would score again against the Old Lady when he was at Bayern Munich in the 2008-09 Champions League campaign.

He is far from the most deadly goalkeeper in front of his opposition counterpart, though.

Brazilian goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni holds the record for most goals scored by a goalkeeper. He scored a remarkable 131 times for Sao Paulo in Brazil's domestic league and South America's biggest cup competitions.

Further north, Mexico's Jorge Campos, who was the starting goalkeeper for El Tri at the 1998 World Cup in France, was often sent up to play as a striker. However, the difference was he would replace another forward and be replaced with a substitute custodian at club level.

Campos, famed for his colorful and often outsized goalkeeper jerseys, scored 35 times for UNAM in Mexico.

Paraguay's Jose Luis Chilavert is the only goalie to score a hat trick. All three came from the spot in a 6-1 Velez Sarsfield win over Ferro Carril Oeste in 1999. Of his 67 goals, four - half of his Paraguay goals - came for his country during their successful qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Chilavert also took free kicks.

Rene Higuita, known best perhaps for his "scorpion kick" against England in a Wembley friendly or his propensity to dribble from the box, also scored several times. The Colombian scored across the globe in a 24-year career that took in Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador and Venezuela.

South America clearly has the option on goalies who help at both ends.

Peruvian Johnny Vegas Fernández netted 39 times for clubs including Sport Boys, Union Huaral, Universidad San Martín de Porres, FBC Melgar, Sport Ancash and Cienciano, while Brazil's Márcio Santos Souza did the same 34 times for Bahia, Fortaleza, and Atlético Goianiense.

In Europe, Bulgaria's Dimitar Ivankov scored for Levski Sofia in his homeland before taking his talents to Turkey with Bursaspor, Kayserispor and Bursaspor.

Several keepers have scored over the years, with some of the biggest names in the games chipping in. Peter Schmiechel did so for Manchester United for example but the Great Dane was hardly deadly in front of the opposition goal.

No one has ever mentioned the night where France striker Nicolas Anelka made history as the first Frenchman to score for his country at Wembley when he netted a brace in 1999.

The sometime Arsenal, Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool and Shanghai Shenhua striker did so while wearing goalkeeper gloves.

Perhaps, Anelka - who scored 171 goals in his 18-year career - lays a claim to the title, or perhaps those outfield players who filled in between the sticks when the team's goalkeepers were sent off do?

That would be against the spirit of the game - and goalkeepers can win games.

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