Ranked! 11 of the most remarkable saves that even David de Gea would be proud of
11. Pepe Reina, Liverpool 3-3 West Ham (FA Cup Final, 2006)
The Spaniard himself classed it as his best ever save, particularly given the context of the match
Reina was Rafa Benitez’s choice to replace the hero of Istanbul, Jerzy Dudek, ahead of the 2005/06 campaign. The former Villarreal keeper was hailed as “the best goalkeeper in Spain” by Benitez but had already made an error in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea; he then followed that up with two more on the big day at Wembley, spilling a Yossi Benayoun shot to let Dean Ashton roll the ball home and then misjudging a Paul Konchesky cross which floated over his head and into the back of the net.
He more than made up for it later, though. Just two minutes from the end of extra time with the scores locked at 3-3, Reina magnificently diverted a looping Nigel Reo-Coker header onto the post. The Spaniard himself classed it as his best ever save, particularly given the context of the match. Three penalty stops in the subsequent shoot-out made it all the sweeter as Liverpool lifted the trophy for the seventh time.
Reina gets fingertips to Reo-Coker's header
10. Tim Flowers, Blackburn 1-0 Newcastle (Premier League, 1995)
Like a man possessed, he leaped to his right to deflect a rasping Peter Beardsley shot over the top
Blackburn needed to win this encounter to ensure they had control of their own destiny going into the final weekend of the 1994/95 title race with Manchester United. Alex Ferguson had started the mind games, questioning whether Kenny Dalglish’s outfit had the bottle to complete the job.
Tim Flowers took his comments as a personal insult and, like a man possessed, leapt to his right to deflect a rasping Peter Beardsley shot over the top and let out a primal scream of joy just before half-time.
“Don't talk to me about bottle," he told Sky Sports afterwards. "Don't talk to me about bottling it, cos that's bottle out there. That's quality players out there, giving their all … we're gonna fight to the death, cos we've got bottle … all we can say is we'll give exactly what we've given today, exactly what we've given all season, and that's 100% bottle."
How many bottles can a man have?
Flowers' save at 35 seconds in
9. Manuel Neuer, Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich (Champions League, 2015)
Arsenal were dominant in the first-half of this Champions League group stage match, but Neuer was a wall of defiance in the Bayern goal. His best moment came when he kept out Theo Walcott’s header from six yards with a Teutonic left claw; Walcott was so sure the ball was arcing in, he turned to celebrate.
Neuer’s heroics sent Twitter into meltdown, with Pepe Reina and Kasper Schmeichel among those expressing their astonishment.
Neuer keeps out Walcott's header
8. Jim Montgomery, Sunderland 1-0 Leeds (FA Cup Final, 1973)
Both David Coleman on the BBC and Brian Moore on ITV were proclaiming the equaliser live on TV before suddenly checking themselves
Ian Porterfield won the final for second division Sunderland against the shortest-priced favourites and Division One giants Leeds. The game will be remembered for Black Cats custodian Montgomery's stunning double save to keep out Trevor Cherry's six-yard header and then push Peter Lorimer’s follow-up onto the bar from a seemingly prone position.
Both David Coleman on the BBC and Brian Moore on ITV were proclaiming the equaliser live on TV before suddenly checking themselves. Lorimer admits: “Jim was the scourge of my life. Don [Revie] said he was vulnerable from 20 or 30 yards because he had poor eyesight but close in he had terrific reactions and was brilliant in the six-yard box. Don was right.”