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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Football: Oblak Reaches Atletico Milestone

By: K.M., STA

Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak reached a historic milestone for club side Atletico Madrid over the weekend after starting his 200th league match for the Spanish side.

The ever-reliable shot-stopper put on yet another impressive display, including a fine save to deny Uroš Račić in the first half, as a late own goal gave Atletico a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Valencia to continue their impressive start to the season.

Los Rojiblancos, as Atletico are affectionately known, are the only unbeaten side in La Liga this season, registering seven wins and two draws from their nine La Liga games played so far as they sit in second place on the table, one point behind leaders Real Sociedad who have however played two matches more.

Instrumental to their current hot streak has been star gloveman Oblak, who has kept seven clean sheets and conceded just two goals across all nine games played.

Following his landmark achievement, Oblak took to social media to celebrate and thank his supporters.

“Three more points and 200 games in La Liga,” he wrote. “Thanks for the support!”

The 27-year-old, who was La Liga’s most expensive goalkeeper when he arrived at Atletico from Portuguese side Benfica in 2014, is now into his seventh season in the Spanish capital, where he has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

In 200 league appearances for Atletico, Oblak has conceded just 123 goals and kept 112 clean sheets, ranking him highest among goalkeepers across Europe’s top five leagues over the same period. Since March 2015, he has kept 36 more clean sheets than any other keeper – second on that list, coincidentally, is compatriot Samir Handanovic of Italy’s Inter Milan who has kept 76 clean sheets in the 204 matches he has played in the same timeframe.

The Škofja Loka-born star has thus kept a clean sheet in 56% of the league games he has played – German superstar Manuel Neuer is a distant second in those rankings with a clean sheet rate of 49%. The former Olimpija Ljubljana goal-minder also tops the charts in terms of minutes per goal conceded – he lets in a goal, on average, every 145 minutes, with Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson second on that list, conceding a goal every 124 minutes.

Oblak, who often wears the captain’s armband for Slovenia, has taken his incredible form into the national team as well, having kept five clean sheets in all five UEFA Nations League encounters in which he played as Slovenia topped their group, earning promotion to League B for the 2022/23 edition.

Oblak will next be in La Liga action on Saturday evening when Atletico host 17th-placed Real Valladolid.

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