Peter Schmeichel vs Rapid Vienna, December 1996
There’s an obvious comparison to make here: this save is very similar to Gordon Banks’ save against Pele in 1970. This was a tough call: there a so many wonderful Schmeichel moments, but this save was truly outstanding. The Dane’s save from Rapid’s Rene Wagner came in an otherwise unremarkable, straightforward 2-0 victory for United, but it remains one of his best.
Gregory Coupet vs Barcelona, October 2001
This save is as good as it is bizarre. With three minutes gone at the Nou Camp, Claudio Cacapa (whom Newcastle fans should remember from a recent North-eastern stint) under pressure from Rivaldo, hit an outrageous backpass to Coupet. With the all sailing over Coupet’s head, the Frenchman managed to backtrack and head the ball onto his own crossbar. The onrushing Rivaldo powered a close-range header toward goal, but Coupet somehow got back up to produce a stunning save.
David Seaman vs Sheffield United, April 2003
The then-Premiership champions Arsenal had been expected to crush second tier Sheffield United at Old Trafford in this FA Cup semi, but found themselves struggling to add to Freddie Ljungberg’s 35th minute opener. With time running out, Sheffield United begin to throw men forward, and following a bit of a scramble in the area, the ball breaks to Paul Peschisolido, three yards out, with an open goal. The now-Burton Albion manager’s header was goalbound, until Seaman, showing incredible agility for a 39-year old, managed to claw it away from goal. Breathtaking.
Bogdan Lobont vs AC Milan, April 2003
The inclusion of this save is a little dubious, given that the ball seems to cross the line, only to be missed by the liner. It’s a save too great to ignore, though. Christian Brocchi’s shot takes a huge deflection off Ajax’s Petri Pasanen, and with the ball heading for the top corner, the Romanian stopper somehow manages to scramble across goal and claw the ball away. Not before it crosses the line, mind.
Shay Given vs France, September 2005
Perhaps not quite on a par with the others, this is one of the Irishman’s finest moments. With the score at 0-0, in the days when Irish-French footballing relations were a little better, Zinedine Zidane lines up a free kick just outside the area. His strike is flying towards the top corner, but Given, cat-like, flies across his goal to palm the ball away. An excellent stop.
I’m aware that there’s plenty I’ve missed here, and as such am a moron who probably doesn’t even watch football. So, inevitable haters, what should I have included here?
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