Alisson Becker’s dramatic late save from Akradiusz Milik saved Liverpool’s Champions League season as they edged out Napoli 1-0 to reach the knock-out stage. Let us look back at five of the greatest saves in Champions League history.
Peter Schmeichel v Rene Wagner, 1996
Peter Schmeichel made a number of outstanding saves during his long tenure with Manchester United, but the Dane is in no doubt about his best and it came away to Rapid Vienna in the Champions League. Rene Wagner’s downward header looked destined to the net but Schmeichel was down to his right with astonishing speed and got a strong hand to the ball to divert it over the crossbar. United went on to win the match 2-0, and eventually qualified for the knock-out stage by finishing two points ahead of Fenerbahce.
Gregory Coupet v Rivaldo, 2001
Rivaldo could only smile in disbelief. What was almost a calamitous own goal instead became one of the greatest bits of goalkeeping the Champions League had ever seen. Claudio Capaca’s lobbed backpass looked to be sailing over Gregory Coupet, but the Lyon goalkeeper raced backwards and headed the ball on to his own crossbar. It fell invitingly for Rivaldo, who appeared poised to head home a simple goal, but Coupet sprang to his feet and denied the Barcelona forward with a remarkable reflex save.
Jerzy Dudek v Andriy Shevchenko, 2005
Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League final win over AC Milan is remembered for the Reds’ stirring second-half comeback from 3-0 down and then the dramatic penalty shoot-out, but the latter would not have happened but for a remarkable double save from Jerzy Dudek in extra time. First he blocked Shevchenko’s powerful downward header at the near post, but then more remarkably got back up in time to divert his point-blank follow-up over the crossbar.
Gianluigi Buffon v Nabil Fekir, 2016
Gianluigi Buffon has made a habit of defying his age for some time now. One of the most remarkable cases came late in 2016 when Juventus travelled to Lyon in the Champions League group stages. With the game still goalless, Nabil Fekir broke forward on a counter-attack and shot at goal. His powerful effort deflected off Leonardo Bonucci and appeared to leave Buffon completely wrong-footed, but with outstanding reflexes he stuck out a strong right-hand to send the ball over the bar. Despite finishing with 10 men, Juventus won the match 1-0 and went on to reach the final.
Hugo Lloris v Javier Hernandez, 2016
Hugo Lloris was in inspired form when Tottenham travelled to Bayer Leverkusen as he made a string of saves to keep the match goalless. The best of them came three minutes into the second half when Stefan Kiessling slid the ball across goal to Javier Hernandez. Faced with a gaping goal the Mexican looked a certain scorer but Lloris leapt on the ball and stopped it halfway across the line, with goalline technology showing he kept it out by a matter of inches.