Italy beat Bulgaria 1-0 in Friday’s top of the table Group B World Cup qualifying encounter - but they had their goalkeeper to thank for it.
The 2006 World Champions took three points via Alberto Gilardino’s first-half header but a masterful performance from goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon preserved the victory.
The Italy number one has come under pressure in recent months after a series of errors but he was back to his best for Cesare Prandelli’s side.
Buffon made a string of top saves in the second half to deny the Bulgarians – one in particular a contender for save of the year.
Just after the interval, Ivelin Popov found himself unmarked at the back post with a tap-in from three yards. He made decent contact, but Buffon flung himself back towards his goal-line and clawed the ball away.
On the occasion of his 135th cap – putting him just one behind all-time Italy appearance record holder Fabio Cannavaro – it was one of the all-time great stops from one of the great goalkeepers of the modern era.
Check it out in the video above...
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms