9 of football's best penalty-saving goalkeepers

Marcus Bettinelli, Fulham 4-1 Hull

Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli saved two spot-kicks in as many minutes in the Cottagers' 4-1 FA Cup win over Hull. Tim Ellis identifies some more net-minders who somehow had the upper hand from 12 yards

1. Paul Cooper 

Back in those days of tight shorts and dodgy mullets, custodians weren't allowed to move their feet, so Cooper instead leaned to one side and swung his arms about to put the taker off

In the early 1980s, Ipswich Town went desperately close to landing the old First Division title under Bobby Robson. A key part of that team was goalkeeper Cooper, who saved eight out of 10 penalties he faced in 1979/80.  

Net-minders weren't allowed to move their feet back in those days of tight shorts and dodgy mullets, so Cooper instead leaned to one side and swung his arms about to put the taker off. "I remember mimicking him in the playground," David James said years later. "It was a bizarre technique, but it worked."

Paul Cooper

Cooper celebrates one of many stops in '79

2. Diego Alves 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Diego Costa, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Fernando Llorente are among his lengthy list of victims

Valencia's Diego Alves has saved an incredible 20 of the 42 penalties he's faced in La Liga, and 23 from 46 overall for los Che. He broke the Spanish top-flight record previously held by Andoni Zubizarreta when he denied Leganes player Alexander Szymanowski in September, before pulling off a remarkable double against Atletico Madrid in October 2016 by keeping out both Antoine Griezmann and Gabi at the Mestalla.

"It's great that players fear taking penalties against me," the Brazilian said after the game, which Atletico still won 2-0. "I try to wait as long as I can before committing and put doubt in the taker's mind. And by contrast, I never have any doubts."

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Diego Costa, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Fernando Llorente are among his lengthy list of victims.

Diego Alves

Diego Alves and Valencia team-mates celebrate his save from Griezmann

3. Cammy Bell 

The Dundee United keeper is thought to be the first man in world football to stop three spot-kicks during a single half of football

The Dundee United keeper is thought to be the first man in world football to stop three spot-kicks during a single half of football, with Dunfermline’s Gary Reilly, Nicky Clark and Paul McMullan all denied within the first 33 minutes of a match in September.

His saves proved pivotal, with the Tangerines going on to win 3-1 despite being reduced to 10 men in the second period. For those who worry about such matters, his feat was snubbed by the Guinness Book of Records because they don’t recognise lower-league matches. The snobs.

4. Will Norris

Norris was not named man of the match, though, with the award instead going to team-mate Leon Legge, who gave away the first penalty and was sent off as a result

Cambridge man Norris had an outstanding start to 2015/16, saving five penalties in the first two months of the League Two campaign. The most memorable spot-kick dramatics were the two injury-time stops he pulled off in a 2-1 win over Accrington at the beginning of October, with Chris Eagles and Terry Gornell both failing to score.

Norris wasn't named man of the match, though, with the award instead going to team-mate Leon Legge, who gave away the first penalty and was sent off as a result. Those sponsors really do need to hold on before deciding.