Goalkeeper's stoppage-time header gives Benevento first-ever point
Benevento, beaten in their first 14 Serie A matches, grabbed their first-ever top flight 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.
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.
Milan, who spent over 200 million euros ($237.78 million) 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 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.
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 halftime but, as so often this season, they undid the good work by quickly conceding another, Nikola Kalinic scoring after being allowed a free header.
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.
"We have a long way to go and a lot to improve," said Gattuso. "We are licking our wounds today, will work to improve the fitness levels and mentality, but I cannot reproach my players for anything today."