Is there a more dramatic feeling in football than a last minute winner? Yes. When goalkeepers score them. Some of football’s most monumental goals have been slammed home by the nutter that spends his day job with footballs hurtling towards them at speeds of 90 kph.
There’s surely not a better sight. Even snatching a draw in the league that seems fairly inconsequential, can feel as mad as a last minute winner in the final, should the keeper be the one to silence the opposition.
It’s when these goals happen in matches of real importance, or in particularly impressive fashion, that makes heartbroken opposition fans question “why them?”. Cruel, yet equally beautiful for anybody not associated with the club these goals were scored against, allow me to regale you with four times the keeper pulled off the unthinkable.
A stalwart in the Sevilla net for 9 years, Palop’s goalkeeping contribution for the club was a vital part of their success through this period, with his displays in goal helping his side to two Uefa Cup’s, A Copa Del Rey and 5 year period of 3rd and 4th place finishes, that helped cement the side as a regular in Europe. He was a reliable keeper, the epitome of a safe pair of hands.
In 2007, he would produce headlines, winning Sevilla a game in the most dramatic of fashions, on one of football’s biggest stages. As Los Nervionenses trailed 4-3 on aggregate away in Ukraine, the side having managed to draw 2-2 at home, a 90 +4 minute corner would prove to be the last kick of the game, unless they could equalise.
Future Barcelona legend Dani Alves would step up to swing the ball into the box. Palop, having made it forward, put himself amongst the bodies near just outside the 6-yard box. As the corner came in, it became suddenly obvious to spectator’s exactly who the ball was poised to fall to.
With striker-like instincts, Palop had lost any marker, finding himself completely free 8 yards out, watching the ball sail closer and closer.
Leaning back as he met the cross, the Andalusian born goalkeeper steered the ball into the bottom corner at the far post. An equaliser, with the literal last kick of the game. The stadium in Donetsk was shell-shocked, the sound of the few thousand away supporters the only way for many to even comprehend what had just happened.
The side would go on to win the game in extra-time, and more importantly go on to win the UEFA Cup, beating fellow Spaniards Espanyol in the final, with Palop making just as an important contribution in the final, saving 3 out of 4 penalties in the shootout.
The holders, who had defeated plucky underdogs Middlesbrough the year before, would retain the UEFA Cup, but it would have been so different without Palop’s header..
A name alien to some, but any fans of the Puskas award will know well. The Puskas award being the award for the best goal scored in professional football around the world. That’s right. Masuluke, didn’t just scored a goal to equalise against giants Orlando Pirates in the 5th and final minute of injury time.
He did so in such incredible fashion that he would go on to finish second in the Puskas award, losing only to Olivier Giroud’s incredible scorpion kick. If it had happened almost any other year, it would have won hands down.
As with all of these goals, it was of course a corner, in this instance however, the initial cross was punched away by the opposing goalkeeper, looping over Masuluke, and bouncing just shy of the edge of the box. With his back to the goal and the ball just falling below the keeper’s head height, something needed to happen.
Some fans may have jokingly encouraged the spectacular. In a split second decision, motivated by either madness, blind arrogance or incredible composure, the keeper fell back, flicking his foot as he fell, launching an arcing attempt.
Before anyone could even believe what the Baroka FC keeper had just attempted, the ball was in the net, flying over the opposing keeper, aided by his slightly off positioning as a result of his punched clearance seconds before.
Just as impressive, was the keeper had a celebration ready, either born out of another instance of unhinged improvisation, or perhaps even more insane, planned, with the keeper expecting to at some point in his career score. He even tells his motions for his teammates not to jump on him by the corner flag, so he can perform his bombastic and fittingly ridiculous celebration.
Masluke is the beautiful epitome of the insanity of keepers, not just through his unbelievable goal, but in his apparent readiness of a celebration. An improvisational masterclass.
Voted Derby County’s best player of the 2000’s Poom was always a crowd favourite. His announcement over the Tannoy at games was often greeted with a low booming “Poooooom” reverberating around the stands, confusing commentators who would mistake it for booing.
A reliable pair of hands, Poom earned his move to English football following a commanding performance for Estonia against Scotland, a game that would end 0-0 despite a flurry of Scotland chances. He signed for Derby in 1997, spending 6 years at the club, making 146 appearances. In his final year there, he would join Sunderland on loan as Derby were relegated from the football league.
The move was questioned at the time, with Sunderland, a team expected to perform well in the championship, poised to rival Derby for promotion. Sure enough it would quickly haunt Derby, in a way nobody could have predicted. Following the move being made permanent in January, Poom would face off against Derby in the league.
Still a fan favourite he was greeted with applause at Pride Park. Should the Derby fans have known what was about to come, the fans able to see the hilarity in football would have been beside themselves.
Trailing 1-0, Sunderland had won a corner in the 90th minute. The sight of Poom making his way into the Derby box was undoubtedly met with cheers. At 6 ft 5’ he was a towering presence, and would certainly cause some chaos.
Still nobody but the most pessimistic of Derby fans (or optimistic of Sunderland fans) could have even the tiniest fear of Poom leaping at the back post to unleash a towering header past his opposite number in goal.
Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened, not that any Derby fan could believe it, Poom had scored on his first ever game against his old club. Reportedly some Derby fans even celebrated. Naturally Poom did, with this situation being one of the circumstances where it is absolutely ok to celebrate versus your old team.
The goal was described as “the best goal ever scored by a goalkeeper in the 90th minute on his first match against his former club” by the BBC Commentator, providing perhaps the least contentious claim in commentary history.
Poom’s career would go on to be hampered by injury, but his thunderous header makes for perhaps the most remarkable goal’s against a former club in footballing history.
Scorer of English footballs most famous winner, despite having a career bouncing around the bottom of the football league, and spending numerous stints at clubs as the reserve keeper. Jimmy Glass’ contribution to Carlisle’s history is unquestionable, despite playing just 3 games for them.
With Carlisle desperate for a win in the final game of the 1998-99 season, drawing 1-1 and in dire straits, Jimmy Glass made the trek forward into the opposing penalty area. With 10 left seconds on the clock, Carlisle needed a goal.
Staring footballing oblivion in the face, as they were poised for relegation as things stood, dropping you of the football league, into the lottery that is the conference. At such a level finances are incredibly tight, with little income to keep the club running, and so often football league regular’s end up falling adrift in the wilderness for years at a time, some even going bust all together.
Every fan, fan pundit and neutral knew a miracle was needed to prevent relegation, and in incredible scenes, they’d get one. As the corner swung in, Scott Dobie would meet it in the air. The keeper parried it away, but only as far as Jimmy Glass, who was on hand to volley it into the bottom corner.
It will always be remembered. With generations of football fans telling later generations about this incredible moment. An emergency signing, that the football league had given a special sanction for Carlisle to sign, had saved them in the least expected of ways.
A pitch invasion followed. The players were mobbed by fans, the Carlisle faithful already knowing the final score in the Scarborough match. They had failed to win, making Carlisle’s 3 points enough to stay up.
For the full story of the most famous unsuccessful player in history, you can find our full article on the story of Jimmy Glass here.