Keylor Navas Reaffirms His Status As The Most Underrated Goalkeeper Of All Time
Get the best email in soccer.
PARIS - Paris Saint-Germain looked shaky as they completed a 5-2 aggregate victory against Barcelona to reach the Champions League quarterfinals, but keeper Keylor Navas kept them afloat when their demons resurfaced.
On the stroke of halftime on Wednesday, Barça had a penalty that could have put them 2-1 up and two goals away from forcing extra time after a 4-1 defeat in the first leg at the Camp Nou. A repeat of the 2017 "remontada”, when Barça beat PSG 6-1 to overturn a 4-0 first leg defeat in the last 16, seemed more than just a pipe dream.
"Really, we deserved more for that effort. It should at least have been 2-1 to us at half time. If we'd led at the break, the second half would have been a whole different affair," said Barça coach Ronald Koeman.
But Navas deflected Lionel Messi's spot kick onto his crossbar and out, leaving the visitors needing to score three goals in the second half. Costa Rica's Navas won three consecutive Champions League titles with Real Madrid from 2016-18 and he showed again he was the keeper PSG needed when he denied Ousmane Dembélé twice in the opening 25 minutes, making nine stops in the whole game.
Keylor Navas came up for PSG against Barcelona. Repeatedly. pic.twitter.com/BLJB2DjDOH— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) March 11, 2021
"Their keeper was player of the match," Koeman said.
Navas was only beaten when Messi's long-range missile flew into the top corner in the 37th minute after Kylian Mbappé had put PSG ahead with a 31st minute penalty against the run of play.
"Navas once again showed all his qualities. He's a top-level goalkeeper," said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino. "He's one of the best keepers in the world."
Midfielder Marco Verratti also sang Navas' praises.
"He's done it more than once, he won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid. Tonight he showed what a great keeper he is. We're happy to have him in Paris,” the Italian said.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alison Williams)