The advent of substitutions have lessened the frequency of sightings, but the rare beast that is an outfield player donning the gloves as a goalkeeper is still out there. Just ask Rio Ferdinand, Felipe Melo, Rodrigo Palacio, Samuel Eto'o, Phil 'the Cat' Jagielka or Gabi, who conceded a spot kick during a seven-minute cameo between the Club Atlético de Madrid sticks on Saturday.
For some fans, appearances are more common than they would like. Michael Petkovic's timing at Sivasspor was especially bad: between 2006 and 2009 he was sent off three times when his team had already introduced their allotted substitutes. Sometimes, though, through athleticism, distant memories and sheer will, these goalkeeping weeds blossom magnificently ... albeit wearing jerseys two sizes too large. UEFA.com opens up the archives.
Daniel Pancu (Fenerbahçe SK 3-4 Beşiktaş JK, May 2004)
This Istanbul derby was an epic even before goalkeeper Óscar Córdoba was sent off ten minutes from time for conceding a penalty. With Beşiktaş having already made three substitutions, striker Pancu put the gloves on and though he could not stop Alex making it 3-3, he was thereafter imperious – denying Nicolas Anelka and Alex as the hosts sought a winner. Then came another dramatic twist as Koray Avcı struck from distance at the other end and the final whistle brought delirium. Pancu departed the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium with plaudits and a new nickname: the Panther of Kadikoy.
Michael Tarnat (Eintracht Frankfurt 1-2 FC Bayern München, September 1999)
Perhaps Sammy Kuffour knew something no one else did. Bayern were trailing when, within the space of seven second-half minutes, collisions with the unyielding centre-half ended the contributions of No1 Oliver Kahn (concussion) and understudy Bernd Dreher (torn ligaments). With 34 minutes remaining, up stepped Germany defender Michael Tarnat. "I was pretty nervous to begin with," he said. "Had Frankfurt taken more shots, I would have looked a right fool." They did not; he did not, making a brilliant late reflex stop as Bayern pulled off a remarkable comeback victory.
Niall Quinn (Manchester City FC 2-1 Derby County FC, April 1991)
The striker had already proved adept at his day job in this English top-flight fixture, lashing in a fine first-half volley, before the dismissal of Tony Coton prior to the interval meant a spot of moonlighting. Standing at 1.90m he had the frame of a goalkeeper and, as Dean Saunders confidently came forward to take his penalty, demonstrated the skills too, diving to his left for a fantastic save. City went 2-0 up, and though Derby pulled one back Quinn kept them at bay to secure a win that relegated the Rams.
Oceano Cruz (FC Porto 2-2 Sporting Clube de Portugal, August 1995)
The gig looked up for Sporting when Costinha was red-carded with ten minutes left in this Portuguese Super Cup second-leg tie and the sides locked at 2-2 on aggregate. Do not underestimate the motivating powers of redemption, though. Defensive midfielder Oceanu had earlier conceded the penalty from which Porto made it 2-1 on the night, and as he stepped forward to take the gloves the Sporting captain was carried by an air of salvation. The deputy custodian did not disappoint, frustrating the hosts to earn a replay which his team duly won 3-0 to claim the trophy.
Paris Andralas (Olympiacos FC 4-0 Levadiakos FC, December 2007)
Sometimes, the understudy even outshines the established star. Nikos Karakostas retrieved the ball from his net four times during this Greek Super League match before he was put out of his misery nine minutes from time, sent off after felling Luciano Galletti. Midfielder Andralas ambled back, grabbed the gloves and then disinterestedly positioned himself between the posts. Tasos Pantos stepped up and Andralas was suddenly on his toes, diving expertly to repel the spot kick. Pantos and the crowd were stunned; Andralas less so – he had been a goalkeeper in his teens.
Of course, it does not always go to plan. Here are three less successful ventures ...
Súni Olsen (AB Argir 3-2 B36 Tórshavn, July 2013)
For over a decade Olsen has inspired fear among opposing goalkeepers in the Faroe Islands whenever his teams get free-kicks in shooting range. So when, with three substitutions made, the defender took the gloves after Tórdur Thomsen was sent off in last summer's league meeting with Argir after a foul just outside the box, the national goalkeeping union temporarily changed sides en masse. Dion Splidt enacted revenge for all of them, firing in his set piece for a dramatic winner. Now Olsen knows how it is to be on the receiving end.
Alain Giresse (FC Nantes 6-0 FC Girondins de Bordeaux, May 1982)
Yes, you read it correctly. For the last game of France's 1981/82 season, Bordeaux president Claude Bez decided that after his No1 Dragan Pantelić was banned for a year for an off-the-pitch incident, he would make a stand. "He told me 'Gigi, you're the captain – you play between the posts,'" France midfielder Giresse, 1.63m, recalls. "I remember I got my hands on the ball for the first time on 14 minutes and fought the reflex to release it and play it with my feet." He lasted almost an hour until, with the score 5-0, he was replaced by another international Marius Trésor. Standing at 1.82m, the defender could at least reach the crossbar.
Chris Hedworth, Peter Beardsley (West Ham United FC 8-1 Newcastle United FC, April 1986)
With first-choice Martin Thomas sidelined, goalkeeping No2 David McKellar limped through the first half with a hip injury before a mixture of pain and pride meant he did not emerge after half-time. Newcastle were already 4-0 down. Midfielder Chris Hedworth had a brief turn – time enough to concede another – before falling awkwardly and cracking his collarbone. The next cab at the rank was the unlikely figure of England forward Peter Beardsley, all 1.73m of him. The incongruity was never dispelled. Hapless and helpless, he let in three as the no more likely figure of Alvin Martin, a centre-back, completed a hat-trick – one goal against each keeper. "I only came out to buy a loaf of bread!" Newcastle defender John Bailey shouted to the home fans as he lined up in front of Beardsley for a corner.
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