What Happens If A Goalie Gets A Red Card In Football?

A red card for a goalkeeper can be a game-changer to leave fans wondering how their team will cope. 

This guide will explain what happens when a goalie gets a red card, the impact on the team, and the important decisions they face. Finally, you’ll also learn about some of the famous goalkeeper incidents In football history.

What Happens If A Goalkeeper Gets A Red Card?

If a goalkeeper gets a red card in football, they must leave the field immediately.

This can happen for various reasons, like a violent tackle, stopping a clear goal-scoring opportunity with their hands outside the penalty area, or showing aggressive behavior towards another player or the referee.

When a goalie is sent off with a red card, the team is left with only 10 players on the field. Since a team must always have a goalkeeper, another player from the team has to take over the goalkeeping duties.

Usually, this is not an outfield player who is skilled in playing as a goalkeeper, so this can put the team at a big disadvantage.

Teams are allowed to make substitutions during a game, typically up to three (though this can be more in some tournaments or under special rules).

If the team still has substitutions left, the coach will usually choose to bring in the backup goalkeeper from the bench. This means they will have to take off one of the outfield players to make room for the new goalkeeper.

The player who is substituted out is usually someone who is not as important to the team’s defense, but this decision can vary depending on the game situation and the coach’s strategy.

If the team has already used all their allowed substitutions, then an outfield player must take on the role of goalkeeper.

This is not ideal because outfield players do not have the same training and skills as regular goalkeepers. Therefore,  opponents could see it as a big opportunity to score goals.

The team with the red-carded goalkeeper also has to play with one player less for the rest of the match.

This situation makes it even more challenging for them to defend against their opponents and can change the result of the game significantly. 

Is It A Big Disadvantage For A Team If Their Goalkeeper Gets A Red Card? 

A goalkeeper getting a red card can be a big disadvantage for a soccer team. As we’ve said earlier, a red card for the goalie means he or she has to leave the game immediately, and the team must play the rest of the match with one less player.

This can make it harder for the team to defend against the other team’s attacks. When a goalkeeper is sent off, a substitute goalkeeper usually takes their place.

If the team has already used all their allowed substitutes, an outfield player must go in goal. Outfield players are not trained to be goalkeepers, so they may not be as good at stopping shots, which can make the team more vulnerable to conceding goals.

Besides, playing with one less player can affect the team’s overall performance. With only ten players instead of eleven, the team must work harder to cover the whole field.

This can make the players get tired quickly, making it easier for the opposing team to find and exploit gaps in their defense. Additionally, losing the goalkeeper disrupts the team’s plan. 

Goalkeepers often communicate with their defenders to organize the defense and prevent the other team from scoring.

A new or less experienced goalkeeper could not be as effective at this which can cause confusion and mistakes. The psychological impact on the team can also be significant. Seeing a teammate sent off and having to reorganize can be tough. 

Players may feel under more pressure, knowing they have to compensate for the missing player. This can cause more mistakes and a lack of focus. However, teams sometimes manage to overcome this disadvantage.

They may play more defensively, focusing on protecting their goal and trying to counter-attack when possible. Strong teamwork and determination can help them cope with the loss and still perform well if you ask me.

Can A Goalkeeper Get A Red Card During A Penalty Shootout?

Yes, a goalkeeper can get a red card during a penalty shootout. A penalty shootout happens when both teams have the same score at the end of the game and extra time.

Each team takes turns trying to score goals from the penalty spot, and the team with the most goals at the end wins.

The goalkeeper’s job is to try and stop the other team from scoring. If the goalkeeper gets a red card during the shootout, they cannot play anymore.

Because teams are not allowed to bring in new players during a penalty shootout, someone who already finished the game must step in as the goalkeeper. This could be any player who was on the field at the end of the game.

For example, a defender or a forward might have to replace the goalie, even though they don’t usually play as a goalkeeper.

There are real examples of this happening. According to a referee, James Keenley, In a 2003 match between Botswana and Malawi, during the penalty shootout, the Botswana goalkeeper was sent off after punching the Malawi goalkeeper in the face. 

In another example, during an MLS match in November between Orlando City and NYCFC, the Orlando goalkeeper came off his line before the penalty kick was taken.

According to the laws in place at the time, he was given a mandatory yellow card for this action. Since it was his second yellow card of the match, he was shown a red card and had to leave the field.

Also, if any other player gets a red card during the penalty shootout, they cannot be replaced. The shootout continues with fewer players on that team.

However, the other team has to reduce their number of players too, so both teams have the same number of players taking part in the shootout. This is done to keep things fair.

The same rules apply if a player, including the goalkeeper, gets injured during the shootout. No substitutions are allowed, so the team must continue with fewer players, and the opposing team must match the number of players to keep it fair.

So, it is yes, a goalkeeper can get a red card during a penalty shootout, and if this happens, another player from the team who was on the field at the end of the game must take their place.

No substitutions are allowed during the shootout for any reason, and the other team must reduce their players if the first team has fewer players due to a red card or injury.

Famous Red Card Incidents For Goalkeepers In Soccer

1. Esteban Alvarado – Kicked A Fan

Another most talked-about red card incident in soccer involves AZ Alkmaar’s goalkeeper, Esteban Alvarado. This dramatic event occurred during a Cup match against Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena.

The match was already heated when a drunk fan ran onto the field and tried to attack Alvarado. What happened next shocked everyone.

Alvarado, a Costa Rican goalkeeper, didn’t just defend himself. Instead, he responded with a series of kung fu kicks that sent the teenage hooligan crashing to the ground.

Even after the fan was down, Alvarado kicked him a few more times until security guards stepped in to remove the intruder. This unexpected turn of events led to a farce on the field.

The referee, Bas Nijhuis, decided to give Alvarado a red card for his actions. This decision angered the AZ Alkmaar team and their coach, Gertjan Verbeek, who ordered the entire team to walk off the field in protest.

The situation caused a lot of controversy. Many believed that Alvarado was defending himself from an unexpected attack.

After reviewing the incident, the Dutch FA (KNVB) decided to rescind the red card given to Alvarado. They stated that Alvarado was attacked unexpectedly and his reaction was influenced by his shock and anger at the situation.

Referee Nijhuis later explained his decision, saying, “I understand that Esteban was defending himself, but he walked to him (the supporter) and kicked him multiple times. He could also have walked away.”

Despite this explanation, the Dutch FA’s decision to reverse the red card left them red-faced.

2. Oliver Kahn – Scored A Goal With The Hand

One of the most memorable red card incidents involving a goalkeeper happened to Oliver Kahn, a well-known German player, on March 3, 2001.

Kahn was playing for Bayern Munich in a match against Hansa Rostock. This game turned into an unforgettable moment in soccer history, not because of a spectacular save or a great goal, but because of Kahn’s unexpected and surprising action.

During this match, Bayern Munich was losing 2–3 in the final minutes. As the tension mounted, Bayern Munich earned a corner kick.

In a desperate attempt to change the score, Oliver Kahn did something unusual. Instead of staying near his goal as goalkeepers usually do, he ran up to join his teammates in Hansa Rostock’s penalty area.

As the corner kick was taken, Kahn leaped into the air and, to everyone’s shock, punched the ball into the net. This act was clearly against the rules, as goalkeepers, like any other players, are not allowed to use their hands outside their penalty area.

However, the referee had no choice but to show Kahn a red card, immediately dismissing him from the game. This incident is remembered not only because it involved a top goalkeeper but also because of the audacity and clear violation of the rules. 

3. Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon also had one of the most famous red card incidents. Buffon, a former Juventus goalkeeper, is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the history of soccer.

Despite his many achievements, one particular match stands out for him, not just for the game itself but for the way it ended. The match took place in the 2018 Champions League quarter-final between Juventus and Real Madrid.

It was a tense game, filled with drama and excitement. Juventus was fighting hard to overcome a deficit from the first leg of the tie.

They were on the brink of making a remarkable comeback when a controversial moment occurred in the final minutes. Real Madrid was awarded a penalty in stoppage time.

Buffon, known for his calm and composed demeanor, lost his temper. He felt the decision was unfair and let his emotions get the best of him. Buffon approached the referee, Michael Oliver, and vehemently protested the call.

In the heat of the moment, Buffon was shown a red card and sent off the field. This meant he could not stay in goal for the crucial penalty kick that followed.

Interestingly, Buffon later revealed that someone else had punched the referee, yet he was the one who received the red card. Despite this, Buffon described this moment as his proudest.