San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Keylor Navas

Keylor Navas stops critical penalty kick to save Real Madrid

The legend of Costa Rica’s San Keylor continues to grow.

Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas has looked like the top keeper in Spain’s La Liga so far in his first season as full-time starter with Real Madrid, and again Navas saved “Los Merengues” on Sunday against cross-town rival Atlético Madrid.

After Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was called for a penalty in the box in the 21st minute, Atlético’s Antoine Griezmann was awarded a penalty kick that would have evened the score. But Navas, who set Real Madrid’s club record with the most consecutive shutouts to start a season, denied the would-be goal by perfectly judging Griezmann’s kick.

An eighth minute goal from striker Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid an early lead in the Derby. Despite Navas’ heroics on the penalty kick save, Atlético’s pesky group of strikers came back to finally tie the score on an 83rd minute goal when Jackson Martínez crossed a ball in traffic that Navas was unable to corral before Luciano Vietto netted the equalizer.

That goal marked just the second score against Navas all season, as he’s recorded five shutouts and has blocked two penalty kicks already on the young season.

Navas’ shutout streak to start the season lasted an incredible 534 minutes, coming just four minutes shy of breaking the all-time La Liga record for the longest span of time without conceding a goal at the start of a season.

One season after former Real Madrid goalie Iker Casillas allowed one goal per every four shot attempts, Navas has only allowed one goal per every 315 minutes of game action in La Liga with 17 saves in seven games.

With a 4-0-3 record, Real Madrid is currently in second place in Spain’s La Liga standings, just one point behind league-leader Villareal.

“¡Que rápido es Keylor Navas!” Watch the entire play:

 

Contact Michael Krumholtz at mkrumholtz@ticotimes.net

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