It’s not unusual for Goalkeepers to make brilliant saves. Everyone remembers Gordon Banks’ save from Pele for England against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup and many class that as the greatest save of all time. More recently you may have been blown away by the agility shown by David Seaman for Arsenal to keep out Paul Peschisolido’s effort in a 2003 FA Cup tie with Sheffield United. But both of these saves are nothing in comparison to the goalkeeping skills of former Lyon ‘keeper Gregory Coupet, both with his hands and his head.
French goalkeeper Gregory Coupet currently plays for Paris Saint Germain, but spent most of his career as the number one at Lyon. The 36 year old was often an understudy to Fabian Barthez in the national arena but has won 34 caps for France to date and has had a successful career in the French Ligue 1. At under 6ft tall he is not the biggest ‘keeper in the world, but one match in particular should result in him being recognised as a great goalkeeper of his time.
Coupet was in goal for Lyon in a Champions League match against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the 2001/02 campaign when he made the most remarkable double save. First he looked to be beaten by a shocking back pass that was looping over him and into the net. Somehow he managed to dive and head the ball onto his own crossbar to prevent the ball from going into the net. Then when he could have been excused for congratulating himself, he quickly recovered to return to his feet and keep out Rivaldo’s header from the rebound.
Not only should Coupet be praised for his incredible double save, but he also managed to do something so unique and entertaining that it will probably never be repeated again. Thankfully Fifa abolished the back pass rule otherwise this event would never have happened as Coupet could have just tipped the ball over the bar. I also think that the Lyon defender who accidently lobbed him has to take some credit for the first save, as without his rubbish attempt at a back pass Coupet would just have been another regular ‘keeper.
Liverpool should be thankful that Coupet no longer plays for Lyon, otherwise they might have faced an impossible task in trying to score in tonight’s Champions League match. But who knows, maybe current Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris can pull off an even more remarkable save!
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