Some goalkeepers may go their entire career without saving a penalty. Others thrive under the pressure, becoming hero’s for their clubs and countries in the process. In Belgium, Davy Roef has become one of the latter. Against Standard Liege at the weekend, he made two penalty saves, his third in the space of a week after he had denied Höskuldur Gunnlaugsson in the Europa Conference League on Thursday. Three penalties faced this season, all three saved.
Yet this is not a new phenomenon for Roef, who can pride himself on being a specialist in denying players from the spot. As reported by OptaJohn, Roef has saved 10 of the 27 penalties he has faced in the Belgian Pro League, an impressive 37% save rate. As OptaJohn states, this is the highest penalty save percentage on record among all goalkeepers with 15+ penalties faced (since 2014-15).
During the 2022 Belgian Cup final, Roef was the hero. The Gent keeper saved two penalties to win the cup for Gent as they beat Vincent Kompany’s Anderlecht. Despite his penalty saving record, Roef has had to play second fiddle this season to Paul Nardi. His chance has come in European football this season, although an injury to Nardi meant he was between the posts against Standard on Saturday. While Nardi has performed well, Gent fans will certainly have been happy that the penalty specialist was on the pitch on Sunday afternoon.