A wall. A hero. Being a goalkeeper in the elite is a risky profession and few mitigate it like Courtois. With Liverpool overturned and biting, there was Bree’s. First against the foot, in a shot almost from point-blank range by Salah. And then the stop. At 20 minutes, he stretched his 199 centimeters to hit the post with a shot that smelled like 1-0 from Mané. In the second half, already with the momentary victory, he saved Salah twice in just over five minutes. And the recital went on and on. In 82′ it was the Egyptian’s nightmare again. If instead of being the Stade de France it was an NBA pavilion, the cry of “MVP, MVP” would have been heard.
Difficult to dance with one of the fittest footballers of the moment, such as Luis Díaz. In the individual duels he gave the stature. In part, thanks to the great help of Valverde to force two against one. He had three mistakes taking the ball that could have cost an upset in the first minutes, but he finished the clash with the tank at full capacity and gaining solidity.
It was not a game where the aerial game that the Brazilian dominates had to be imposed. He had to anticipate the red bullets, which did not stop changing positions. Despite some problems, Militao was very solid, burying the doubts of the last month. When they didn’t get him out of position, he was a lock on one-on-ones. He suffered more when it came to getting the ball played under pressure from Liverpool.
The Austrian had the mission of fighting the first line of rival pressure and it cost him. He could not impose his good footing and Madrid abused the long ball too much. His association with Kroos was not one of the best nights. In defense he managed to block the center with Militao, most of the danger coming from the flanks.
His mission was to defend, defend and defend. And he did. A sticker when it comes to withstanding the onslaught of his peer. The problem, that pair was Alexander-Arnold, the greatest centerer in the Champions League and with a glove on his right foot. He couldn’t minimize his shipments nor join the attack. He had enough to put up with Salah on the inside and Trent on the outside. He erred in the final minutes trying to hold off the Egyptian winger, who outplayed him inside the area and forced Courtois to save the team.
Much surpassed by the first physical arreón of Liverpool. In that muscle battle, Kroos doesn’t shine. As the minutes progressed, Madrid uncorseted, but more due to struggle and heart than a chained game. He couldn’t sleep off the pressure from the opponent’s engine room through possession, as there was always a red leg when he tried to pause and the passes were too horizontal. That yes, the precision of him, indisputable, with a 93% success.
Casemiro was very lonely at the beginning, since neither Modric nor Kroos had their best defensive night. But the Brazilian was in charge of struggling. He won 13 of the 16 duels in which he was involved, with a flat (5/5) in the passing game. He intercepted three balls and made four successful tackles. In the construction he was less precise, since Fabinho and company were also incisive when it came to biting at the white start.
Little presence of Modric. He ran and ran, but he did not have the incidence that he is used to. Of the three midfielders, he was the one who touched the ball the least and did not hold any magic tricks like on other nights. His final may not have been noteworthy, but his Champions League is outstanding. Ceballos came on for Luka at the last minute.
The only unknown in the eleven was Valverde or Rodrygo. Although I played, I pointed out that the chosen one would be the Uruguayan. With him, there is a winger, a midfielder and a right back, if necessary. He helped Carvajal what he could. His biggest contribution came when the field opened up. There he imposed his stride and his three lungs with a ride whose center-shot ended in Vinicius’s foot. He left his place on the field to Camavinga in the final minutes.
It wasn’t his night. He scored his 16th Champions League goal after a rebound, but the VAR ruled it out. Very controversial. If he had been quicker after a sensational check, he would have avoided checks as he had a great chance to open the can on Alison. In the second part, the unstoppable and omnipresent Karim of almost every night was not seen. But it didn’t matter, his colleagues took care of finishing his work.
Award for his season of consecration. Always Konaté as Alexander-Arnold’s assistant and with Henderson hanging around. He launched a very poisonous center that was the first white approach in the middle of Liverpool’s best minutes. A yours-mine with Benzema ended up in a pipe Come on. And he entered the history of Madrid. Like Mijatovic, like Ramos, like Bale. A center-shot from Valverde crossed the area to where Vinicius was, who pushed it with his right foot. Hero of the Fourteenth.
they also played
He barely had time to influence the game. He helped in the final minutes to withstand the desperate attacks.
He had the opportunity to kill the match in a counterattack, where he had only Vinicius. But he couldn’t find the Brazilian.
The last to leave, and to waste time. Hero on other nights, he left the cape to his friend Vinicius and, above all, to Courtois.