With Napoli hosting Juventus on Friday night, we split the regular Serie A blog in two this week. The main piece, covering that game, is here. But the rest of the weekend turned out to be rather lively as well …
• Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard by now about Benevento’s draw with Milan, and more specifically about the manner in which the game ended. After losing the opening 14 games of their first-ever top-flight campaign, the Witches snatched a draw in the 95th minute with a header from their keeper, Alberto Brignoli.
There are so many sub-plots with this one, but it is only right to start with the goalscorer himself. Brignoli is a man who professes to be a bit of a wimp about heading the ball in general, yet when Benevento won a free-kick just outside the area with time ticking down, he charged forwards despite being commanded by his manager, Roberto De Zerbi, not to.
“The boss didn’t want me to go up,” acknowledged Brignoli afterwards. “He can be stubborn but I’m even more so. I said: ‘I’m going. I’m going, and that’s that.’ I leapt like a goalkeeper, not an attacker. They tell me that I looked like Aldo in the scene from [the movie] ‘Tre uomini e una gamba’ (Three men and one leg), and they are right. I was a bit crooked. I closed my eyes.”
Brignoli is only the fifth keeper to score in Serie A – joining Michelangelo Rampulla, Antonio Rigamonti, Lucidio Sentimenti and, most recently, Massimo Taibi. He wasn’t even Benevento’s starting keeper at the beginning of this season, taking over from Vid Belec in October. It was hard not to warm to him, though, as he paused during post-game interviews to express solidarity with the keeper he scored against: Gianluigi Donnarumma.