Two late saves from Nacho Novo and Jean-Claude Darcheville ensured that FC Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés kept Rangers FC at bay on Matchday 4 and beat the Catalan club's all-time record for consecutive minutes without conceding in European matches.
Valdés has now not been beaten in the UEFA Champions League since the 74th minute of Barça's 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool FC in the first knockout round of last season's competition on 21 February 2007 – five matches and sixteen minutes ago. The total of 466 minutes overhauls Pedro Valentín Mora's Barcelona record of 460 set in the mid-1970s but a modest Valdés only appreciates the fact that his play has helped bring Frank Rijkaard's side to the verge of qualification from Group E.
The goalkeeper also believes the plaudits should be handed to Barça's team play. "I'm obviously happy to be setting a record of this kind but I didn't know much about it before this match and I don't want too much importance placed on it," the 25-year-old said. "Firstly, it's only a compliment to the work of the entire team in defending areas all over the pitch and secondly, to me, it will remain just a statistic until we qualify from the group and, hopefully, win back the UEFA Champions League."
Valdés had to stay totally alert until very late in the game when a fierce shot from Darcheville and an even more testing right-footed volley from Novo almost brought Rangers some return after being two goals down at half-time. "Whatever the game and however few saves I've had to make, I always try to remind myself that a goal can come up in the last minute of added time and that it will be just as painful whenever it arrives," he added. "I try to keep totally concentrated right up until the final whistle whether I've been busy or had nothing to do. It's a pleasure playing in this team and you have to be careful not to catch yourself watching the terrific play of our midfield and strikers."
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