It was deep into stoppage time in an intensely fought Portuguese Clássico. A thumping header from Sporting centre-back Sebastian Coates sent the ball arrowing towards the bottom corner of Porto’s net, seemingly earning Sporting a share of the spoils.

Iker Casillas, however, was not convinced.

Showing astonishing reflexes and agility belying his 35 years, the Spaniard produced a cat-like dive and at full stretch palmed away the ball.

Moments later the final whistle blew and an uncharacteristically magnanimous Jorge Jesus made a point of going onto the pitch and congratulating Casillas. “I told Casillas it was he who had won the game,” the Sporting coach said to reporters afterwards. “He’s a great goalkeeper.” It's a view even those who were initially sceptical have come to share.

Writing for ESPN, Tom Kundert describes how the evergreen Iker Casillas has become a big hit at Porto and made critics eat their words. To read the article entitled Iker Casillas’ Porto revival has critics eating their words click on the link.

 

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  • I have indeed been one of the critics. Have been proven wrong this season, although he was pretty awful last year.

    Good for him, I do respect the man, but the downside is he is also keeping Jose Sa, a promising Portuguese keeper on the sidelines. But that said, hopefully he can keep up the great form and help Porto to the title.

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    I saw the match and I thought Sporting were desperately unlucky to come away with nothing from the match. They dominated proceedings for the most part, especially in the second half, and had enough chances to have won the match, so definitely deserved a draw. Casillas came up huge yet again for Porto in a big match, and his two tremedous saves in that second half were literally what won the 3 points for them.

    Obviously this is a team sport and results are generally a team effort, but it's also often individuals who make the difference. And I think Casillas has clearly been the most important figure in the fact that Porto are mounting a serious title challenge this season. The number of clean sheets he has kept, particulary in the various matches where Porto failed to score a goal or scored just the solitary goal, has won them vital points to keep them in the title race. Now of course the back four and the defensive midfield are also responsible for a clean sheet, but the keeper is the last line of defense and is usually the most responcible.

    I disagree that he was awful last season. He was outstanding in Porto's best result of all of last season, the win against Benfica at the Luz. His incredible string of saves in that match clearly prevented Porto from losing by 2 or even 3 clear goals! How they actually managed to win when Benfica created so many scoring opportunities was astonishing and completely down to Casillas. He definitely has some flaws, particularly a tendency to get caught in no man's land when defending set pieces and he's not the greatest in the air.....but I would say in terms of shot stopping and direct saves, he remains one of the best in the world. Porto fans should be thankful for the vital points he has won them so far this season.

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