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Five of the greatest goalkeeping saves of all time

UK & international sports | Published:

Gordon Banks’ stop from Pele is widely regarded as one of the best stops in football history.

Gordon Banks made 73 appearances for England

Former England, Leicester and Stoke goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81.

Banks, a World Cup winner in 1966, is widely regarded as one of the best keepers of all time and his save to deny Pele in 1970 is one of the most famous stops in history.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five of the football’s greatest saves from the likes of Banks, Peter Schmeichel and Rene Higuita.

Gordon Banks v Pele, 1970

Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks produced a wonder-save to deny Pele in 1970 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Banks’ astonishing save from the Brazilian superstar during their 1970 World Cup clash in Mexico is almost universally acknowledged as the greatest save of all time. Pele’s close-range header was aiming for the bottom corner of the net when Banks threw himself to his right and somehow managed to scoop the ball off the goal-line and up over the crossbar to safety.

Peter Schmeichel v Rene Wagner, 1996

Peter Schmeichel made a stunning save to deny Rene Wagner (John Giles/PA)

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Schmeichel denied Rapid Vienna’s Wagner in a manner similar to the way in which Banks had kept Pele at bay. Wagner headed downwards from seven yards, but Manchester United keeper Schmeichel stretched across and got enough on the ball to divert it over the crossbar.

David Seaman v Paul Peschisolido, 2003

David Seaman
David Seaman brilliantly denied Paul Peschisolido (Phil Noble/PA)

A remarkable point-blank reaction save which Seaman rates as the best of his career. Arsenal were hanging on against Sheffield United in their FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford when, with six minutes to go, Carl Asaba volleyed goalwards from a corner and Peschisolido got his head on it from three yards out. The ball was more than a yard behind Seaman, on his 1,000th senior appearance, and to his right, but somehow he managed to get his arm back to claw it away.

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Jim Montgomery v Trevor Cherry/Peter Lorimer, 1973

Jim Montgomery
Jim Montgomery was the star of the 1973 FA Cup final (PA Archive)

The Sunderland goalkeeper’s heroics have lived long in the memory as they helped his team win the FA Cup final 1-0 against Leeds. Cherry launched himself at a far-post cross, but his diving header from six yards out was repelled by Montgomery. Lorimer rifled in the follow-up from equally close range, but Montgomery was already on his feet to tip it on to the crossbar to the bemusement of television commentators who had already called a goal.

Rene Higuita v Jamie Redknapp, 1995

Colombia’s goalkeeper Rene Higuita
Rene Higuita makes a diving save during Colombia’s clash with England at Wembley (Tony Harris/PA)

No list of all-time great saves would be complete without the flamboyant Colombian’s effort midway through a Wembley friendly. Faced with a speculative long-range effort from Jamie Redknapp, Higuita elected to perform an acrobatic flip subsequently dubbed the ‘Scorpion Kick’, booting the ball to safety by the most unorthodox – and memorable – of means.

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