Van der Sar won the tournament with both United and Ajax and kept a number of clean sheets?Goals in the Champions League are a staple in the competition and even the best of clubs concede goals at this level of the game. Top teams boast excellent attacking threats and players of the sort are very important in winning the trophy but the defensive shape is equally important and required to reach the final.
?Clubs with great defensive records in the competition were solid setups with great players comprising the defensive system of the team. Here we take a look at the top 5 clubs with the most minutes in the Champions League without conceding a goal.These are some of the top European clubs with the best defensive runs in the competition. #5 AC Milan 02/11/2004 – 04/05/2005 – 623 minutes?AC Milan goalkeeper at the time Dida?7-time European Cup winners, AC Milan, during the 04-05 season, went 623 minutes without conceding a goal from November in the group stage up until the second leg semi-final. With Dida in goal during the 7 games, the club didn’t concede a single goal before Ji Sung Park and Philip Cocu scored for Eindhoven. ?Milan brushed aside Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic in the group stage, before knocking out Manchester United in the round of 16 and fellow rivals Inter Milan in the quarter-finals. However, Liverpool beat the club in the final of the competition and recorded one of the game’s greatest comebacks against AC Milan. ?The back four comprised of Alessandro Nesta, Jaap Stam, Paolo Maldini and Cafu with Costacurta and Kaladze as reinforcements.
A strong squad managed by the clever Ancelotti, Milan enjoyed a period of dominance in European football.?#4 AFC Ajax 27/09/1995 – 03/04/1996 – 658 minutes?Louis van Gaal during his time at Ajax?4-time Europan champions, Ajax, during the 95-96 season, went 658 minutes without conceding a goal from September till April. Under Louis van Gaal, the club won the competition a year earlier and was looking to repeat the result again. However, the club maintained a perfect defensive record before conceding a goal to Panathinaikos in the first leg of the semi-final.
?A home defeat in the first leg was overturned with a 3-0 victory at away from home in Greece before the club lost a penalty shoot-out to Juventus in the final. The defensive backline was led by captain Danny Blind along with Winston Bogarde, Frank de Boer, Michael Reiziger, Arnold Scholten. ?Edwin van der Sar was in goal and the youngster at the time went on to play for another 20 seasons in goal before retiring.??#3 Chelsea FC 03/10/2007 – 02/04/2008 – 686 minutes?Grant almost guided Chelsea to a Champions League trophy?2012 Champions League winners, Chelsea during the 07-08 season managed to not concede a goal for 686 minutes from October to April. Jose Mourinho just got sacked as Chelsea boss sometime in September 2007 and was replaced by Avram Grant who went on to guide Chelsea to their maiden final and this record.
?Four Champions League group stage games against Rosenborg, Valencia and two against Schalke, followed by the round of 16 ties against Olympiacos the English side didn’t concede a goal. With Cech in goal, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry and Cole in defence, the club’s defensive setup was a formidable one. ?The club conceded finally to Fenerbache in the quarter-finals but got through and went on to beat Liverpool in the semi-finals before losing to Manchester United on penalties in the final.
Grant enjoyed more than half a season in charge of the Blues before being removed as manager after the CL final defeat. ?#2 Juventus 22/11/2016 – 09/05/2017 – 690 minutes?Juventus FC captain and keeper Buffon has set many records?2-time European Champions, Juventus during the last CL season, went 690 minutes without conceding a goal in the tournament from November to May. Under Massimiliano Allegri, the club was guided to the final and lost to Real Madrid by 3 goals to 1. ?Gianluigi Buffon oversaw the role between the sticks, with Bonucci, Chiellini and Barzagli in front of him and with Alex Sandro and Lichsteiner as wing backs. With the final group game the first of his six matches with a clean sheet, Buffon managed to not concede until the second leg semi-final against Monaco.
?The club got past Porto, Barcelona and Monaco to reach the final and will face Spurs in the round of 16 clashes this season. A tricky test awaits Allegri and Juventus as Pochettino and Spurs are no pushovers. ?#1 Arsenal FC 27/09/2005 – 17/05/2006 – 995 minutes?Arsene Wenger has guided the club to a final?2006 finalists, Arsenal during the 05-06 season, went a staggering 995 minutes without conceding a goal from September to May.
Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal has recorded the longest ever run in the tournament without conceding a goal. In a season where Arsenal lost to Barcelona in the final, the club only conceded 4 goals the entire tournament. ?In the first two group stage games, Arsenal conceded a goal against Thun and Ajax and then only conceded two to Barcelona in the final. Jens Lehmann was in goal for the Gunners with Lauren, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole ahead of him. ?In the final, Lehmann was sent off in the first half and Arsenal played the remainder of the game with 10 men, only to go down after taking the lead and holding on for a long time. Arsenal has still never lifted the competition and will look to enter back into the European elite soon, having missed out this season.?