“It’s hard. It’s not a nice place to be. Kinda embarrassing. I certainly felt for the boy. It happens” – Tim Howard’s conciliatory words will perhaps not have eased the pain for Bolton’s Ron Weasley lookalike Alex Bogdan, but at least it shows he cares. After all his goal was essentially a piece of luck; receiving the ball in his box Howard looked to clear only for the unusually strong wind and an interesting bounce to lift it into Bolton’s goal. These keepers were more impressive though, demonstrating a quality finish in front of goal or from a set-piece.
Jimmy Glass – Carlisle vs Plymouth
It’s the final day of the season and Carlisle need to better Scarborough’s result at Peterborough to stay in the football league. With both games tied at 1-1 Scarborough look certain to stay up. Then, in the fourth minute of extra time, Carlisle is awarded a corner. A figure in red and black comes running up the pitch, just in time to meet the delivery with a neat half volley and keep Carlisle in the Football League. Cue scenes of jubilation, revelry and the inevitable dogpile on top of the scorer. Jeff Stelling’s compelling commentary as anticipation builds only adds to the brilliance of this. Glass’ Wikipedia is divided into two sections – time at Carlisle United and life after Carlisle United – implying that his career never again reached such lofty heights. If you’re going to score one goal though…
Rene Higuita – Nacional vs River Plate
I could have picked an entire top five of just Higuita goals. His scorpion kick may be his most remembered highlight but he had a great free kick on him as well, scoring 25 goals in his club career and 8 for Colombia. This was perhaps his most important as Nacional faced River Plate in the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores. His goal gave the Colombian side the lead in the tie, and although River pulled it back in the next leg, he was again instrumental in winning the penalty shoot-out that sent them through. They went on to lose the final against Gremio of Brazil due largely to a poor first leg performance by Higuita, demonstrating the inconsistent and often frustrating career of the man. As an aside note the difference in commentary between these two versions. Clearly it meant a lot more to the second…
Nick Widmer – Canby vs Clackamas
If goalkeepers scoring in football are rare consider lacrosse. With smaller goalposts, smaller balls and a much more crowded pitch it’s hard to see how anyone could score from their own half, yet alone the goalkeeping area. Nick Widmer managed to though, sending a shot right down to the other end of the pitch and the back of the Clackamas goal. Admittedly the keeper was off his line, but the level of accuracy required to hit the back of the net from that far out is incredible.
Peter Schmeichel – Manchester United vs Wimbeldon
With a rare defeat looming for the 1997 Manchester United that featured Scholes and Giggs in midfield (imagine that…), Peter Schmeichel came sprinting up the field for a last minute corner. Having scored against Rotor Volgograd in the days when the UEFA Cup wasn’t beneath Fergurson (although they went on to lose the tie on away goals) he once again came into the box in the hope of rescuing the FA Cup 4th round replay. With the ball coming towards him and facing the other way from the goal he improvised, hitting a sweet overhead kick into the bottom corner…only to be (rightly) called offside. Unfortunately for him what would have been one of the greatest goals by a keeper became a mere curiosity on YouTube, and Manchester United went out of the cup.
Jose Luis Chilavert – Velez vs River Plater
No list of goalkeepers scoring would be complete without Chilavert. The Paraguayan scored 52 goals in his career, including 8 for the national team. Although he travelled around, playing for Penerol and Strasbourg over the course of a 22 year career, his longest and greatest spell was the ten years he spent at Vélezz Sársfield in Argentina, where he scored 35 goals and won the Copa Libertadores and four league titles. This goal was scored against River Plate (they seemed to have a habit of conceding from South American keepers that season) in winning the 1996 Clausura. The way he hits the ball gives it a perfect arc, dipping just under the bar and over the keeper’s head.
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