The greatest saves (video)

It’s often said that goals win matches, and statistically speaking that is obviously true. However, a great save can help avoid a defeat – and in some cases provide a team with the inspiration and confidence needed to go on and win a game. Let’s take a moment to looks back at some of the greatest saves caught on camera.




Gordon Banks’ stunning foil of Pele’s bullet header at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico was significant not in the context of the match – Brazil went on to win 1-0 – but for the superb technique displayed. To mine such depths of split-second reaction and co-ordination was something staggering, particularly to deny one of the game’s greatest ever players. Whether it should be considered the best ever save is undoubtedly up for debate, but it is undoubtedly something special.

Jim Montgomery’s save for Sunderland in the 1973 FA Cup Final against Leeds, was one of those aforementioned match-saving blocks – well actually, two of them. Double saves are generally regarded as the holy grail of life between the posts, and this pair helped Sunderland preserve their 1-0 lead and take the trophy. The second of these saves was probably more impressive than the single Banks one, as he had to recover from making the initial block. Forty years on, and the Black Cats are still waiting for their next major trophy, which shows the importance of Montgomery on that Wembley day.

A day forever ingrained in the memory of Liverpool fans is their 2005 Champions League triumph over AC Milan. While Steven Gerrard is widely thought of as the inspiration behind it all, even his efforts would have been all for nothing had Jerzy Dudek not twice halted Andrey Shevchenko in his tracks. How much he knew about the second one is doubtful, but the sheer instinct to get in the way of the ball is something to be applauded, and it was a spectacular save.

Peter Schmeichel, arguably the finest keeper ever to pull on a Man United shirt, would be hard-done-by if he was not included in this list. This save to deny Rapid Vienna’s Rene Wagner was one of his best, and set his side on their way to a 2-0 win in their 1996 Champions League encounter.