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Game Changer: Just how did Vicente Guaita save Eric Dier's free-kick?

The Palace keeper was at fault for the opening goal but made amends with a world-class save to earn his side a point

 
5:30pm on Sunday 13th December 2020
By
Paul Macdonald

Tottenham's attempt to win at Crystal Palace was denied in the final minute by a moment of genius.

It's not often goalkeepers get that kind of praise but the save from Vicente Guaita in injury time to deny an Eric Dier free kick is nothing short of extraordinary.

Vicente Guaita save

Guaita had earlier made an error in the first half after being wrong-footed by a long-range Harry Kane that he let slip past him, but afterwards he was in superb form, making a series of saves.

Near the end he reacted superbly from close range to get down to block a Harry Kane header that was underneath his body, but he saved his best for the game's last act.

Dier's free-kick is swerved to perfection, with the right fade to move the ball away from the goalkeeper and - hopefully - find the top corner of the net.

Guaita moved his feet superbly to make up the ground and get himself in a position to make contact with the ball and try to keep it out. But despite that, it was still dipping in just under the crossbar, which means he needed a strong wrist in order to stop it finding the net.

And he did so, miraculously. Dier's kick is hit with real power but Guaita's strong wrist was able to divert the ball up onto the crossbar and to safety.

Many saves made in matches come down to the positioning of the goalkeeper or their reflexes from close range, and that summed up a number of Guaita's saves here. But this one showcased all the abilities that a top-class goalkeeper must have.

His feet movement was perfect. He showed anticipation to edge in the correct direction before the ball was hit. He stretched his arm high above his head. And he maintained the fortitude in his wrist to deflect the ball to safety.

It is, maybe, the save of the season. And it was the moment that decided this match.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Tottenham: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats

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