7 facts behind Igor Akinfeev’s recently ended 11-year Champions League clean sheet drought
The 31-year-old goalkeeper went over a decade without a UCL clean sheet, but recorded one in qualifying for this year’s tournament.
The Champions League proper has yet to get under way but one notable thing has already taken place in qualifying – CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has kept a clean sheet.
During his side’s 2-0 win away at AEK Athens in the third round of UCL qualification, the 31-year-old goalkeeper prevented the home side from scoring.
That’s something he hasn’t done in the tournament for almost 11 years, since his team’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal in the 2006/07 group stage.
So here are some of other the facts and figures behind Akinfeev’s drought, which hasn’t necessarily prevented CSKA from enjoying success.
1. Akinfeev’s drought lasted 3,919 days and 43 games (including qualifying matches) – he conceded 84 UCL goals in that time.
2. Akinfeev kept six consecutive clean sheets immediately before his drought, including two qualifying games, with CSKA Moscow’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal in November 2006 the sixth.
3. The goalkeeper wasn’t present for every CSKA Moscow game in that time, with knee ligament injuries in 2007 and 2011 keeping him out.
4. CSKA Moscow recorded clean sheets during Akinfeev’s absence – Vladimir Gabulov was in goal for a 3-0 aggregate win over two legs against Trabzonspor AS in 2011.
5. Akinfeev has come close to ending the run a few times – last season he conceded an 87th minute goal against Monaco, while Tottenham’s Son Heung-min scored in the 71st minute against him too.
6. Akinfeev has come up against English teams on 10 occasions during his drought – Manchester United four times, Manchester City four times, and Tottenham twice.
7. Conceding on a regular basis certainly hasn’t prevented the team progressing through the competition. They made it to the quarter-finals in 2009/10, being knocked out by eventual winners Inter Milan 2-0 on aggregate.
Former CSKA Moscow coach Leonid Slutski said of Akinfeev’s record: “If we win a game 10-9, we are happy.”