Marco Amelia became the first Italian goalkeeper to score in UEFA club competition yesterday when his header two minutes from time gave AS Livorno Calcio a much-needed 1-1 draw at FK Partizan in the UEFA Cup.
The 24-year-old Amelia, a non-playing member of the Italy team which won the FIFA World Cup last summer, admitted to have followed his instinct when his side were awarded a free-kick on the edge of Partizan’s penalty area. "Nobody asked me to move forward," he said. "I took that decision following my own instincts. There were a few team-mates telling me to stay in the goal but I did not care because I did not want to lose the game. I decided to go into Partizan's penalty area and try to equalise."
He may not be a specialist scorer like South American colleagues Brazilian Rogerio Ceni or Paraguayan José Luis Chilavert, but Amelia had tried to score in the past. "It's not the first time that I have gone into attack in the latter stages of a game. Last season I helped [Fabio] Galante to score in a Serie A game at Treviso [Calcio]. I often practice shots and headers in training and when I was a kid I was a forward," he said.
The club from Tuscany, enjoying their maiden European campaign, are delighted to have earned their first point in Group A following their 3-2 home defeat by Rangers FC on Matchday 1, and see it as a welcome morale boost ahead of decisive games against AJ Auxerre and Maccabi Haifa FC on 29 November and 14 December respectively. "Amelia's goal was a sign of destiny," Livorno coach Daniele Arrigoni said. "It means we have to try to qualify until the final whistle of our last game, and we will certainly do just that."
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