If there’s one thing that you can’t beat in football, it’s a goalkeeper scoring a goal. It’s such a relatively rare event, it’s really easy to get carried away. When Alisson scored that dramatic stoppage time winner for Liverpool at West Bromwich Albion for example, the press understandably went berserk. Given that Liverpool were making a late charge for Champions League qualification, a stoppage time winner from anyone would’ve made for hysteria. But a goal from the keeper? Well, that was something else.
And after the year that Alisson has had, no one would begrudge him that moment of sheer ecstasy, and it may well have been the turning point in Liverpool’s dogged pursuit of a top four finish after enduring a miserable few months or so defending their title.
Alisson’s goal came from a free header from a desperate last gasp corner, and although it was a decent effort, the Baggies’ defending was shocking, and you just know it would’ve sent Sam Allardyce nuts.
Aside from Alisson’s late Hawthorns intervention, perhaps the most dramatic goal scored by a keeper was Jimmy Glass’ famous last minute strike that kept Carlisle United in the Football League at the expense of Scarborough in 1999.
Glass had joined Carlisle on an emergency loan from Swindon Town for the last three games of the season. The last of these was a home game with Plymouth Argyle. As the match entered the final minute, the score was 1-1. Scarborough’s game with Peterborough United was already over, finishing 1-1, with the Seadogs’ fans on the pitch thinking it was all over, celebrating safety. With around ten seconds left on the clock, Carlisle won a corner, and Glass bombed forward as they threw the kitchen sink at Argyle. The ball was swung over and the Plymouth keeper parried a header from Scott Dobie. But the ball fell kindly for Jimmy Glass who volleyed home leading to pandemonium, and Glass becoming a Carlisle legend. It led to Scarborough dropping out of the Football League after a 12-year stay, a relegation from which the club has never recovered.
The last goalkeeper to score a goal in the Premier League prior to Alisson’s recent effort was Asmir Begović . I was at an Alsager Town game in November 2013, it was a windy afternoon, and our game had just kicked off when I got a ping on my phone to tell me a goal had been scored in the Stoke v Southampton game. I took my phone out of my coat pocket and expected to see that Stoke had fallen behind given their poor form at the time. That ping told me that Stoke had actually scored inside the first minute, and the goalscorer was Begović . I thought I was hallucinating and had to look again, but my phone was still telling me that Begovic had put Stoke in front. Straight from the kick-off, the ball was played back to Begović whose long punt was caught by the strong wing, and caught out the Southampton centre-halves, the ball bouncing horribly over Artur Boruc and into the Southampton net. Begović was mobbed by his teammates, though he almost seemed embarrassed by it all.
Begović ’s goal was remarkable in that it was the fastest goal ever scored by a goalkeeper (13 seconds), and he set the world record for the longest goal scored in football at 97.5 yards, a record that was broken in January by Newport County’s Tom King (105 yards).
Begović became the fifth goalkeeper to score a goal in the Premier League, alongside Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, Peter Schmeichel and Paul Robinson, who scored twice.
Friedel’s goal was particularly memorable as he equalised for Blackburn Rovers in the 90th minute against Charlton Athletic from a corner. However, he then went on to gift Charlton a winner in stoppage time.
The first goalkeeper that I can remember scoring a goal was Coventry City legend Steve Ogrizovic, who wellied a drop-kick in during a 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday back in 1986. Oggy was renowned for his big kick, and so it was no surprise that one eventually found the net. But as well as possessing a huge kick, Oggy was a very good but underrated keeper, and arguably the best of that era that was never capped for England.
Perhaps the best goal ever scored by a keeper was a spectacular last minute equaliser from South African Oscarine Masuluke for Baroka. Masuluke’s goal was a spectacular bicycle kick which earned his side a point against Orlando Pirates. And it also earned Masuluke a nomination for the 2017 FIFA Puskás Award.
If you want goals from keepers, the place to be is South America where it’s all Latino loco and where goalkeepers have scored hundreds of goals between them.
The keeper responsible for the bulk of them was current Flamengo manager Rogério Ceni. Ceni spent 25-years between the sticks for São Paulo, scoring a world record 132 goals, an incredible feat and a record which will in all likelihood never be broken. Of Ceni’s 132 goals, 61 were free-kicks, and 70 were penalties, and he scored twice in a match on five occasions.
Paraguayan legend José Luis Chilavert is next in the list of highest scoring goalkeepers with 67 goals, 8 of which were for his country. Chilavert is also the only goalkeeper to score a hat-trick.
Other high scoring South American goalkeepers include Peruvian Johnny Vegas Fernández, Columbian scorpion kick legend René Higuita, and Chilean Marco Cornez.
The highest scoring European goalkeeper is former German international Hans-Jörg Butt. Butt managed 32 goals during his career, the majority of which were penalties (29). He is also the record scoring goalkeeper in the Champions League with three goals, all of which were penalties, and incredibly, all three were with different clubs and scored against Juventus.
English goalkeepers tend not to score many goals, the highest scoring being former Luton Town keeper Tony Read who scored 12 times, though he doesn’t really count as he scored them playing as a striker. The highest scoring English goalkeepers are mainly from 100 years or more ago, the most prolific being former Derby County and Bradford Park Avenue custodian Ernald Scattergood who is perhaps more remarkable for his impressive name. In more recent times, former Sheffield Wednesday stopper Kevin Pressman is the highest scoring English goalkeeper with three goals, all of which were penalties.
Given the number of goals that are scored throughout the game, a goalkeeper scoring is a rarity, but these days, the event is more readily captured and quickly celebrated, Alisson’s goal against the Baggies being a prime example.
Ultimately, goals are what football is all about, and though I’d always prefer to see a number nine putting them away, you can’t beat seeing a number one grabbing a goal or two.
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