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5 of the Best: Saves

Kuala Lumpur:'s '5 of the Best' series has so far brought you some of the finest AFC Champions League goals from over the years, but this week we shine the spotlight on goalkeepers and showcase incredible saves from the Asia's biggest club competition. 

Featuring a game-defining save from the 2014 final, a jaw-dropping effort from the 2018 semi-final and several other classics, our latest edition is sure to evoke contrasting emotions.

Also take a look at past editions that feature acrobatic goals, solo goals, volleys, long-range screamers, chips, free-kicks, flicks, tricks and backheels and curlers.

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Eugene Galekovic – Adelaide United
vs Nagoya Grampus, May 29, 2012

Runners-up in 2008, Adelaide United made it to the quarter-finals four years later, with their Round of 16 victory over Japan's Nagoya Grampus largely down to the fabulous form of Eugene Galekovic.

In a game that saw their long-serving goalkeeper make a number of excellent saves, the pick of the bunch was when he got down at his feet to push countryman Josh Kennedy's downward header to safety with a save of world-class quality.

Ante Covic – Western Sydney Wanderers
vs Al Hilal, November 1, 2014

Even to this day, Al Hilal supporters can't quite believe that Ante Covic kept out Yasser Al Qahtani's goalbound effort as the Riyadh giants tried in vain to claw back a 1-0 deficit against Western Sydney Wanderers in the second leg of the 2014 final.

Al Qahtani connected well with Yasser Al Shahrani's centre, indeed his effort from 10 yards was already beyond Covic when the Australian somehow found it within himself to palm the ball round the post. The look on the deflated Al Hilal fans' faces says it all.

Kwoun Sun-tae – Kashima Antlers
vs Shanghai SIPG, May 16, 2018

Kashima's Korean custodian was nothing short of incredible in the Round of 16 second leg clash against Shanghai SIPG, pulling off a number of stellar saves. This one, at near point-black range from Hulk, was undoubtedly the finest.

With the game at 1-1 and Shanghai needing two to get back into the tie, the 'keeper displays supreme reflexes and a strong arm to push the big Brazilian's effort over the bar. Kashima lost 2-1 but advanced on aggregate before lifting their first, and Kwoun's third, Continental title.

Alireza Beiranvand – Persepolis
vs Al Sadd, October 23, 2018

Azadi Stadium was packed to its 100,000 capacity when Persepolis hosted Al Sadd in the second leg of the 2018 semi-finals and gripping tension had engulfed the venue as the game entered its final five minutes, when a goal for the visitors would have sent them through.

Jung Woo-young's inch-perfect delivery found the unmarked Xavi, but the Spaniard's header was somehow pushed over the bar by the brilliant Beiranvand. A collective sigh of relief was felt around the Azadi, and moments later Persepolis were in the final.

Hossein Hosseini – Esteghlal
vs Al Duhail, May 6, 2019

By 2019, Hossein Hosseini was beginning to establish himself as Esteghlal's Number 1 ahead of veteran Mehdi Rahmati, and with saves like this one to deny Al Duhail's Youssef El Arabi in the group stage, it's easy to see why.

It seemed the prolific Moroccan had been presented with an easy tap-in but, with the goal at his mercy, an outstretched Hosseini pulled off a stunning save that looks even more remarkable on the slow-motion replay.

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