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Italian Serie A

Benevento claim historic first Serie A point in bizarre fashion as ‘reject’ goalkeeper nets in stoppage-time against AC Milan

Italian minnows had lost their first 14 top flight matches, but claim draw through Brignoli against Milan who were playing their first match under new coach Gattuso

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 10:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 10:47am

Benevento grabbed their first-ever Serie A point in extraordinary style on Sunday when goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli scored with a flying header deep into stoppage time to give them a 2-2 draw with AC Milan.

With Benevento having lost their first 14 top flight matches, the result was another deep embarrassment to big-spending AC Milan who were playing their first match under new coach Gennaro Gattuso, their fiery former midfielder, after sacking Vincenzo Montella on Monday.

AC Milan, who spent over 200 million (HK$1.85 billion) in the summer transfer market compared to Benevento’s total of 20 million, twice led but were pegged back after Alessio Romagnoli was sent off for a second booking in the 75th minute.

Brignoli, who has spent much of his career moving on loan deals between clubs in Italy, went up to join the attack after his side won a free kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time and, as Danilo Cataldi whipped the ball in, he met it with a flying header into the bottom corner of the net to spark wild scenes at the modest Stadio Ciro Vigorito.

The 26-year-old became the first goalkeeper to score in Serie A since Massimo Taibi for Reggina in 2001.

“There was nothing to lose. I just closed my eyes and jumped. It was a goalkeeper’s goal, not a forward’s goal,” he said.

A bemused Gattuso said: “It hurts. A knife wound would have been less painful than that goal. I would never have expected to concede a goal in the last minute with the opposition goalkeeper scoring.”

Serie A debutants Benevento should have gone ahead just after the half hour but Vittorio Parigini sent a free header wide from Marco D’Alessandro’s cross.

Instead, they found themselves a goal behind when Giacomo Bonaventura headed in at the far post after Benevento missed several chances to clear the danger.

George Puscas snapped up a rebound to give Benevento an equaliser five minutes after half-time but, as so often this season, they undid the good work by quickly conceding another, Nikola Kalinic scoring after being allowed a free header.

Vincenzo Montella becomes a victim of higher expectations at AC Milan since Chinese takeover

Milan, however, handed the initiative to Benevento as the pressure grew after Romagnoli was harshly sent off for a tackle on Gaetano Letizia, even though no contact seemed to be made.

The hosts attacked desperately but were finally rewarded with Brignoli’s stunning effort on a memorable afternoon.