Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel came forward and headed in a stoppage-time equalizer to earn the Roman club a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.
On the final play of the match at the Stadio Olimpico, Provedel — making his Champions League debut — showed off his unlikely attacking skills by meeting a cross from Luis Alberto with a glancing header.
It was a measure of revenge for Provedel, who was left fuming after Pablo Barrios scored for Atletico in the first half with a shot that took a big deflection off Lazio midfielder Daichi Kamada.
“It’s a night I’ll remember all my life,” Provedel, who said he modeled his attacking style after teammate Ciro Immobile, told UEFA.com. “I’m happy especially because we managed to level a game we didn’t deserve to lose. It hasn’t sunk in; later, I will realise that I scored in the Champions League.
“Football is sometimes about moments and not performance. I am sorry that we had to equalize at the last second. I hope the point gives us momentum as motivation and enthusiasm.”
Provedel became just the second keeper in Champions League history to score a goal that didn’t come from the penalty spot and the first to do it in 13 years since Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama did it for Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Before kickoff, Lazio fans welcomed back Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, who helped Lazio win the 2000 Serie A title as a player and also won three other trophies with the Roman club.
“Rome and Lazio will always be your home. Welcome back, Cholo, our champion of Italy,” read a banner in Italian held aloft by Lazio’s hard-core supporters.
While this is Atletico’s 11th straight group appearance in the Champions League, Lazio are playing in the competition for only the second time in 16 seasons.
Lazio produced many more chances, with Mattia Zaccagni and Luis Alberto both coming close on various occasions
Also, Immobile failed to take advantage of an errant pass from Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the second half.
Oblak then lunged to push wide a long shot from Danilo Cataldi in stoppage time before Provedel’s goal.
“We played a good second half, we had clear goal-scoring chances,” Simeone said after the game. “We defended organized and with a lot of effort. I am left with a good feeling despite the goal in the last minute.
“The fans are incredible, I felt so much emotion at the start of the game but also just walking into the stadium. I have this affection that will never die. The banner was beautiful, it touched my heart.”
Lazio travel to Glasgow to face Celtic on Oct. 4 for the next round, while Atletico will host Feyenoord on the same day.
Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this story.