Gregory Coupet, Wojciech Szczesny and Jerzy Dudek all made memorable double saves.

Five of the best double saves after Leeds keeper Meslier kept Coutinho away

Illan Meslier made a superb double save on Sunday to ward off Philippe Coutinho and keep Leeds level in the friendly against Aston Villa. then BT sportthe absolute bastards, oversold it a bit and sent us down a bulletproof rabbit hole on the sunniest day of the year…

Aside from the ones we forgot or couldn’t find videos for, here are the top five double saves that came to mind…

Wojciech Szczesny – Liverpool vs ARSENAL, 2012.
Meslier’s double drop wasn’t even the best from a Premier League keeper, stopping a Prem striker’s penalty before also deflecting the rebound.

This rather niche award goes to Wojciech Szczesny, who defeated Duyt Kuyt twice in Arsenal’s 2-1 win at Anfield in March 2012.

The Arsenal goalkeeper has cleaned up his own mess after bringing down Luis Suarez. With Liverpool already missing five penalties this season, Kuyt grabbed the ball and sent it to Szczesny’s right, but the Polish stopper read it and saved back into play. Kuyt was given a second chance and aimed at the opposition and although he failed in his attempt, it still took an incredible change of direction from Szczesny to come over and hold the point.

At least three minutes before Laurent Koscielny hopelessly cut into his own net. But Arsenal turned it around and won thanks to an injury-time goal from Robin van Persie.

Jerzy Dudek – LIVERPOOL vs AC Milan, 2005.
While this wasn’t the greatest double save of all time for technique or athletics, it could have been the most important.

Liverpool were three minutes away from a penalty shoot-out in the Champions League final after coming from a three-goal deficit in Istanbul. But all that good work seemed to have been for naught when Andriy Shevchenko got up to meet a Serginho cross.

Dudek, retreating lower on his line, blocked the striker’s powerful header, but the ball bounced two yards from goal, perfectly into the run of the still-running Shevchenko. With Dudek on his knees, victory seemed inevitable for Milan when Shevchenko made a clean contact and thundered the rebound towards the gaping goal.

But Dudek raised his arm and the ball twitched against his hand. It should have taken his fingers off, but instead the ball was somehow deflected under the bar over it. Dudek could hardly hide his pride. Apparently a rare feeling.

“For the first time in my life I was proud of myself,” Dudek wrote in his autobiography. “It was a moment I will never forget. Something people will remember me for. You called the 2005 Champions League final the “Miracle of Istanbul”. Well that was my miracle. Saving my career. Of my life.”

Jim Montgomery – Leeds v SUNDERLAND, 1973
Wearsiders would dispute the argument that Dudek’s was the most important. And Montgomery owes nothing to luck. It was a phenomenal goalkeeping performance that gave second division side Sunderland one of their greatest ever FA Cup final victories.

The save from Trevor Cherry’s dive header was special enough, but bouncing back in time to turn Peter Lorimer’s rebound from the six-yard box onto the bar earned Montgomery a place in FA Cup folklore.

The Black Cats goalkeeper not only made cups of Leeds but also BBC and ITV commentators: “And Lorimer makes it one for everyone!” declared David Coleman before his brain processed what had just happened. Brian Moore also struggled to fathom it: “Cherry goes in…and a great save…and a goal! No! My goodness, I thought Lorimer had this.”

Lorimer too. And over 40 years later, in 2014, the Leeds striker insisted he could not have been more sober: ‘If I had that chance again, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I had good clean contact, hit the target and somehow Jim hit it on the bar and saved the day for them.”

Gregory Coupet – Barcelona vs LYON
It would take a brave man to dispute that Montgomery’s best double save of all time. But Coupet’s was certainly the most creative.

Necessity is the mother of invention and playing behind Claudio Cacapa certainly required some clever thinking – some ex-Newcastle keeper will attest to that. So when the centre-back felt a back pass – on the course it has to be said – looping over his own keeper, Coupet had a choice. The sensible variant: turning the ball over the crossbar by hand at the expense of an indirect free kick; or the loner choice: take off and hope to reach it with his noggin.

Luckily for all of us, Coupet made the right choice. And the keeper parried incredibly with his head, but could only avert the danger. After the ball bounced off the bar, Rivaldo had the best free header of all with Coupet in a pile behind his line.

It wasn’t a bad header. Actually it was a textbook. Firm, down and to the corner. What made Coupet’s recovery so extraordinary…

Jan Oblak – ATLETICO MADRID vs Bayer Leverkusen
What’s better than double saving? Obviously a triple.

Oblak played big three times in quick succession to allow Atletico a safe passage to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. His hand was only clean because he first slowed down Julian Brandt with a brilliant series of saves, then twice he kept Kevin Volland out.

The first stop to winning the one-on-one fight was that Brandt was a top-notch drawer – Oblak followed all the correct procedures to stay big and narrow the shooter’s angle. However, the Volland pair exemplify the kind of athleticism and, more importantly, mentality that makes Oblak the world-class keeper that he is.

That kind of stubborn refusal to take a beating is often what separates the good from the great. Had the third rebound gone in instead of whistling past the post it would have been one of the biggest injustices in the Champions League.

#double #saves #Leeds #keeper #Meslier #Coutinho

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