There’s a new superstar goalkeeper on the market – enter Ruslan Neshcheret

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 12:24 BST
  • 4 min read
There’s a new superstar goalkeeper on the market – enter Ruslan Neshcheret

Dynamo Kyiv faced the prospect of facing the might of Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Champions League this week without a raft of first-team players after an outbreak of coronavirus within the squad.

An already massive ask to get something out of the game in Catalunya, the odds were stacked even higher against the Ukrainian side after head coach Mircea Lucescu put out an untested starting line-up.

One of the players making their Champions League debut was 18-year-old Ruslan Neshcheret, who was only involved after the two senior goalkeepers in the squad, Heorhiy Bushchan and Denys Boyko, became unavailable due to quarantine procedures.

Neshcheret had only made one first-team appearance for the club prior – a few days previously against Dnipro.

But despite his rookie status, he put in one of the best goalkeeping displays of recent memory in the Champions League, making no fewer than 12 saves.

Dynamo would go on to lose the game narrowly 2-1, but the scoreline would have been significantly higher if not for the efforts of the young man between the sticks.

Out of the 12 saves, a handful were world-class.

Neshcheret vs Barcelona – Top three saves

3. In the opening 15 minutes, Barca battered Dynamo, continually cutting the visitors open with slick movement and passing in and around the penalty area. Key to this was, naturally, Lionel Messi, who opened the scoring with a well-taken penalty into the bottom right corner.

A few minutes later, he very nearly made it two with a flashed left-footed strike across goal after some neat link-up play with Ansu Fati. Neshcheret was equal to it, though, and got down like a flash to push it wide with a flick of the glove.

2. In the dying minutes Dynamo were pushing for an equaliser, which opened up the space a bit more for Barcelona. Substitute Ousmane Dembele came close to making it 3-1 with a blistering strike that looked destined to nestle in the top left corner. Again, Neshcheret got across to beat it wide.

🧤1. Messi and Neshcheret had quite the duel on the night, with the Argentine firing four shots on target but only scoring one, from the penalty spot.

In the first half, he thought he had scored a signature free-kick whipped into the top left corner, but the 18-year-old stopper somehow got across to tip it behind for a corner. The amount of ground Neshcheret was able to make up across his line was very impressive.

“It was like being in a fairytale,” he said after the game.

“Playing at this great stadium in such a game is a dream for any footballer.

“Messi’s penalty was very good. He’s one of the best in this aspect. We were really happy to have a chance to play against such top opponents.”

If anyone is on the lookout for a goalkeeper for the future, a potential superstar has just emerged.