Dani Alves was the latest outfield player to have a go in goal in the closing moments of PSG’s Coup de France win at Sochaux after keeper Kevin Trapp was sent off. But who are some of the others?
10) Harry Kane, Tottenham vs. Asteras Tripoli, 2014
Harry Kane wasn’t quite yet the Kane we know now back in October 2014: he was still on the fringes of the Tottenham first-team, hence this run-out in the Europa League. The evening was going pretty well for the striker — very well, in fact, having already bagged a hat trick, although Erik Lamela threatened to upstage him with that outrageous rabona goal.
Hugo Lloris was sent off with three minutes remaining, and a volunteer was required to go in goal. Kane did the honours, but let a late, tame shot from Jeronimo Barrales slip through his grasp and go in. “It was a great night until I went in goal,” he said afterwards. “I think I’ll leave that to the keepers from now on.”
9) John Terry, Chelsea vs. Reading, 2006
To lose one goalkeeper to injury is unfortunate, but to lose two in the same game is a calamity. That’s what happened to Chelsea against Reading in 2006 though, when Petr Cech collided with Stephen Hunt (the incident which fractured his skull and why he now wears head protection) and went off, before his replacement Carlo Cudicini was knocked out after clashing with Ibrahima Sonko. Terry was the man who replaced the replacement, taking the gloves for the admittedly short period of time left in the game.
8) Mia Hamm, USA vs. Denmark, 1995
It’s not often that both managers disagree with a refereeing decision, but that’s what happened in the 1995 Women’s World Cup, when USA keeper Briana Scurry was dismissed while kicking the ball upfield, her offence apparently that she handled the ball outside her area. Despite the agreement about the call, someone needed to go in goal for the U.S., and Hamm stepped in for the remaining six minutes. Although appearing “nervous” according to the Los Angeles Times, Hamm made a couple of saves and kept a clean sheet.
7) John O’Shea, Manchester United vs. Tottenham, 2007
Spurs fans might bridle at Alex Ferguson’s old “Lads, it’s Tottenham” team talk, but there was a time when he was perfectly justified in writing them off. After all, United were capable of beating Spurs without a goalkeeper, as they did in 2007. When Edwin van der Sar broke his nose, United were already 4-0 up but had made all their substitutions, meaning O’Shea stepped in for an entertaining cameo, the highlight of which was a charge off his line and tackle on international colleague Robbie Keane. “I asked Edwin whether he had a clean sheet bonus when we got into the dressing room because I want half of it!” said O’Shea afterwards.
6) Jackie Blanchflower, Manchester United vs. Aston Villa, 1957
In many examples on this list, the game had already virtually been over when the outfielder had to don the gloves. Not in the 1957 FA Cup final though, when United’s keeper Ray Wood either collided with or was barged by Villa winger Peter McParland (depending on your point of view), was knocked out and broke a cheekbone in just the sixth minute.
With no substitutes available at all, let alone a reserve goalkeeper, defender Blanchflower took over, and rather inevitably couldn’t stop McParland from scoring twice as Villa won 2-1. Remarkably, Wood returned to the pitch as an outfield player and even went back in goal for the closing seven minutes.
5) Alain Giresse, Bordeaux vs. Nantes, 1982
The last game of the season is often a bit of fun when everything else is decided. But Bordeaux arguably took it a bit too far in 1982, when first-choice goalkeeper Dragan Pantelic was suspended, so he decided to put Giresse — one of the “Magic Square” of midfielders who would win Euro ’84 for France two years later — in goal from the start of their last fixture of the campaign.
“The president told me, ‘You’re the captain, you go in goal’,” Giresse said. “I constantly wanted to run out and catch every ball with my hands.” Giresse lasted an hour, conceding five goals, before he was replaced by Marius Tresor, another outfielder.
4) Jan Koller, Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich, 2002
Sometimes people overcomplicate things in football. Keep things simple. For example: When you need an outfield player to go in goal, who do you choose? Obviously, the one that is 6-foot-7. Dortmund’s giant striker, who had been a keeper as a youth, stepped up when Jens Lehmann was sent off (for arguing with the referee) with 24 minutes left in game against Bayern.
He couldn’t prevent his side from losing 2-1, but he didn’t let any further goals in and made some fine saves. Koller had also scored Dortmund’s lone goal before his stint in goal and “kicker” magazine named him as the keeper in their team of the day feature.
3) Niall Quinn, Manchester City vs. Derby, 1991
Niall Quinn loved going in goal so much he did it twice. Well, was forced into it twice, anyway. The most notable occasion came when Manchester City faced Derby in 1991, and Tony Coton was sent off. Quinn took the gloves and Derby, who had to win in order to avoid relegation, must have thought their luck was in, particularly as Quinn’s first task was to face a penalty. But remarkably, he saved it, low to his left from Dean Saunders.
City won 2-1 with Derby managing just one score against Quinn. “I might have looked as though I was enjoying it but I was frightened to death of a back-pass going through my legs,” he said afterwards.
2) Pele, Santos vs. Gremio, 1963
Like that kid at school who was good at everything — smart, popular, sporty, good looking — some people really do make you sick. Take Pele, for example: his legend wasn’t quite complete in 1963, but he still had two World Cup winners’ medals and obvious genius to spare. He had already scored a hat trick in this game against Gremio when goalkeeper Gilmar was sent off.
Pele volunteered to take the gloves. And, obviously, he was pretty good too, by all accounts. “He was a great goalkeeper,” said teammate Pepe. “Lithe, as if he could fly.”
1) Cosmin Moti, Ludogorets vs. Steaua Bucharest, 2014
Usually when outfielders are forced between the sticks even the most basic acts of competence are applauded and cheered. Expectations are low, and with good reason. But in the case of Cosmin Moti, the Ludogorets centre-back who had to go in goal in the last minute extra-time of their Champions League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest after usual stopper Vladislav Stoyanov was sent off, raised the bar.
With the final score at 1-1, penalties were called for: a shoo-in for the team with the proper keeper, you’d think, but Moti managed to save two penalties. Paul Pirvulescu and Cornel Rapa are the men to hang their heads — as Ludogorets won 6-5 and went through to the group stages. Oh, and he scored a penalty too. A decent evening’s work.
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.