‘Twas the Year of our Lord and Saviour, 2001, and Lyon travelled to the Camp Nou to face Barcelona in a daunting Champions League group stage tie.
It was also the night that Gregory Coupet would prove that, if not some kind of blessed celestial goalkeeping god, he was at least an extraordinary form of human/leopard mutant hybrid.
After being caught cold by an unexpected and misjudged back-pass, Coupet was forced to start furiously back-peddling from the penalty spot.
Despite things looking hopeless, the Frenchman chose precisely the right moment to launch himself through the air and cannon a desperate diving header against his own crossbar.
He then somehow kept his composure, scrambled back to his feet and in the space of a nano-second, successfully thwarted Rivaldo’s close-range follow-up…
Spoilsports may go on to mention that Lyon eventually went on to lose 2-0 (with Rivaldo scoring a late penalty) and ultimately fail to qualify for the knockout phase but still, Coupet’s contribution to the Great Save pantheon remains intact and as bloody impressive as ever.
For some reason, over 17 years down the line, this save still wanders into Pies’ mind’s eye from time to time during idle moments and, upon reviewing the footage, the physics, reflexes, biomechanics and sheer chutzpah involved never cease to amaze all over again.
Truly phenomenal goalkeeping.