Two goalkeepers found the net on the same matchday for the first time in UEFA Champions League history last week, continuing a long tradition of goalscoring custodians in European competition.
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Locating the back of the net has never featured highly on the list of skills required of goalkeepers, but coaches may begin testing finishing ability before snapping up a new No1 after two keepers found the net on the same UEFA Champions League matchday for the first time last week.
Hans-Jörg Butt set the tone on Tuesday with a vital penalty in FC Bayern München's 4-1 success at Juventus. Needing to win to advance, the German giants were trailing when Ivica Olić was brought down by Martín Cáceres in the area, and with 26 Bundesliga spot-kicks under his belt, Butt strode forward to draw his team level. Incredibly, it was the second time the 35-year-old had beaten his Juve counterpart Gianluigi Buffon and the third time he had scored against the Bianconeri, having outfoxed Edwin van der Sar for Hamburger SV during a 4-4 UEFA Champions League draw in September 2000 before registering during a 3-1 success for Bayer 04 Leverkusen the next year.
The following day, Sinan Bolat became the first ever custodian to hit the target in open play during a UEFA Champions League match, heading R. Standard de Liège into the UEFA Europa League with their equaliser against AZ Alkmaar five minutes into added time. "Next time we get a corner, we'll have to send Sinan up for it," joked team-mate Mohamed Sarr.
'It was incredible'
The 21-year-old was following in the footsteps of Standard predecessor Gilbert Bodart, who struck from the spot against HNK Rijeka in October 1986, but his effort probably had more in common with Andrés Palop's dramatic last-gasp leveller for Sevilla FC in a 2006/07 UEFA Cup round of 16 tie with FC Shakhtar Donetsk. The holders were heading out of the competition until Palop nodded in from a corner deep into injury time. "I just copied the sort of movements I see my team-mates do in training," he said. "It was incredible, so exciting."
Earlier that same season, AS Livorno Calcio keeper Marco Amelia had also turned in a corner with his head to earn his club a 1-1 UEFA Cup group stage draw with FK Partizan. "I heard my team-mates screaming to go back and insulting me because there were still a few minutes left, but I told [Dario] Passoni to put in a good ball from the free-kick because I would score. And I did." Eleven years previously in that competition, Manchester United FC legend Peter Schmeichel got his name on the scoresheet in similar fashion, in a 2-2 draw with SC Rotor Volgograd.
Penalties remain by far the most common means of making a difference, though, and Butt lies one strike behind the most prolific member of the goalkeepers' union in UEFA club competition, Dimitar Ivankov, who converted four spot-kicks for PFC Levski Sofia between 1999 and 2002. The Bayern custodian can nonetheless console himself with the knowledge that he boasts one more than namesake Nicky during his long career in Europe as a midfielder with both Manchester United and Newcastle United FC. And who is to say he will not add to his tally before this season's games are out?