Akinfeev's ten-year hunt for a clean sheet

On 1 November, it will be ten years since Igor Akinfeev last kept a clean sheet in a UEFA Champions League match; UEFA.com airs the Army Men's dirty laundry.

Igor Akinfeev despairs as CSKA Moskva concede another UEFA Champions League goal
Igor Akinfeev despairs as CSKA Moskva concede another UEFA Champions League goal ©AFP/Getty Images

CSKA Moskva may be that bit more defensively cautious as they welcome Monaco on matchday three, eager not to take Igor Akinfeev's wait for a UEFA Champions League clean sheet into an 11th year.

On 1 November 2006, the Army Men drew 0-0 at Arsenal to extend a run of clean sheets to six matches in that season's campaign. Akinfeev has not kept one in 39 UEFA Champions League outings since. Should their porous sequence continue against Monaco, the Army Men will have another chance to shut Monaco out at the Stade Louis II on 2 November – exactly ten years and a day since Akinfeev last managed not to concede at this level.

Akinfeev insists the statistic does not bother him too much. "It was painful at first, but now I don't care about the swipes I get from people," the 30-year-old said. "People embarrass themselves by commenting on it, not me. In Europe they don't gloat about things like this, but fans in Russia like to write bad things. All the best to them. Even if I concede in 100 consecutive UEFA Champions League games, that's my business."

Highlights: CSKA Moskva 0-1 Tottenham
Highlights: CSKA Moskva 0-1 Tottenham

CSKA midfielder Pontus Wernbloom is quick to deflect criticism from Akinfeev. "Not every goalkeeper gets to play so many matches in the Champions League," he explained. "Igor is one of the greatest keepers in the history of Russian football. The whole team is to blame for the goals we have conceded in the tournament."

Gabulov respite
Akinfeev has missed 11 UEFA Champions League matches over the past decade (he had knee ligament injuries in 2007 and 2011). In his absence, CSKA did manage two clean sheets, with Vladimir Gabulov between the sticks for a 3-0 win against Trabzonspor AŞ in October 2011 and then again in a goalless draw against the Turkish side a fortnight later. The Army Men have not managed one in 22 outings since.

CSKA would certainly appreciate the opportunity to put the clean sheet drought behind them, but coach Leonid Slutski has other priorities. "The last thing we care about is the number of goals Akinfeev concedes," he stressed. "If we win a game 10-9, we are happy."