The dream debut of Roy Carroll

carol1Few took much notice of the 34-year-old’s comments when he moved to Olympiakos at the start of the year.

“I’m very happy to have joined such a club. It’s a real honour to be part of Olympiakos, Greece’s greatest team. I will do my best in order to contribute and help our squad accomplish its goals. I’m really looking forward to the Europa League games and my own comeback to European competition. I’m hoping that next year we will be playing in the Champions League, because everybody wants to play at the top level. In order to be able to do so, however, we must first win the championship.” – Roy Carroll, January 2012.

Having played for Manchester United, Wigan, West Ham and Hull in his heyday, Northern Ireland goalie Roy Carroll seemed to be entering the world of retirement after taking his talents to powerhouses Odense and OFI Crete in the past few season.

Then he joined Olympiakos; a move that most had completely forgotten about as Carroll had failed to receive even a minute’s playing time. That was until this Tuesday night, when he propelled himself to hero status with one of the great debut performances of recent times.

Playing away in freezing Russia in the Europa League, Olympiakos forged ahead of locals Rubin Kazan when David Fuster scored in the 72nd minute.

The Greeks lead were secure for barely a handful of seconds, as moments later keeper Balazs Megyeri gave away a penalty for a foul on Gokdeniz Karadeniz and was sent off.

Cue Roy Carroll’s debut.

Coming off the bench to face a spot-kick, Carroll performed heroics by turning aside Bibras Natcho’s penalty with the first touch as an Olympiakos player.

The ten-men of Olympiakos then held out for the final 17 minutes to record a victory which put them in pole position to progress to the last-16 of the competition.