Two brilliant saves to bring you from last weekend in world football.
In Mexico, Club America edged Santos 1-nil in a crucial match that saw them confirm their place in the end of season playoffs. But the win was far from plain sailing as, after scoring early on, the hosts then put in a backs-to-the-wall shift to earn the three points.
Five minutes before the final whistle and combination of good fortune and great goalkeeping kept America’s playoff dreams alive.
Santos’s Carlos Darwin Quintero rattled a shot off the woodwork, which left home keeper Armando Navarrete eating grass as he dived but totally missed connecting with the ball. But, with the ball bouncing out and without a moment’s hesitation, Navarrete was immediately back up on his feet in order to brilliantly to push Matias Vuoso’s rebound attempt over the crossbar.
Armando Navarrete’s save can be seen here. (Apologies for the picture quality.)
Over in Italy at the weekend Gigi Buffon also pulled out a top draw save to stop Jonathan Zebina beating his own keeper with a header.
Right-back Zebina almost claimed one of the best/worst own goal headers of the season as, when he tried to cut out a dangerous ball into the box away at Bari, the defender managed to send an effort across goal and towards the far post. Showing feline reactions, Buffon was immediately alert to the danger as he dived to his left and turned the header around the post.
Gigi Buffon’s save can be seen here.
Lastly, over in America another fantastic reaction save was made by the New England Revolution’s shotstopper Preston Burpo.
Playing against the Colorado Rapids, Burpo was caught out by Mehdi Ballouchy’s inventive overhead-volley. Fortunately for the keeper the effort managed to rebound off the bar, however with the ball back in play the custodian had to virtually dive out of the way in order to not score an own goal. That allowed the rebound to fall kindly into Rapid striker Conner Casey’s path, but terrific reactions for Burpo saw the keeper scamper back on his feet and block the follow up shot.
Preston Burpo’s super save can be seen here.