Review Real Madrid – Liverpool

September 18, 2019

first_imgTwo horrible mistakes by Loris Karius and a wonder goal by Gareth Bale led Real Madrid to its third consecutive Champions League title in a final that was overshadowed by Sergio Ramos dislocating Mohamed Salah’s shoulder.Since this was a Champions League final, the chances of coaches coming up with something unexpected in the starting lineups were extremely low. Zinedine Zidane and Jurgen Klopp went with their best available. For Real Madrid those players were: Keylor Navas, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Liverpool’s starting eleven were: Loris Karius, Andrew Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren, Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.Liverpool was off to a furious start. Its high pressing was choking Real Madrid, not affording its technicians space to manoeuvre. Klopp’s team was showing electric energy. There were a couple of situations on both sides where goalkeepers had to intervene in order to prevent potential danger. Real was trying to calm the pace and curb Liverpool’s enthusiasm. A mistake by Firmino gave Cristiano Ronaldo his first shot of the match in the 16th minute. It went slightly over the cross bar. Before that, Real’s defenders blocked three consecutive shot attempts on the other side of the pitch.In the 26th minute, Sergio Ramos made a vile move by hooking Salah’s arm while tackling him to the ground, dislocating the Egyptian’s shoulder. There was definite intent in Ramos’ actions. Salah tried to continue, but couldn’t. With tears in his eyes he left the field in the 30th minute. Madrid’s captain had destroyed the final and went unpunished. Much like with Robben in the semi-final, Real got lucky again. We can only hope that this year’s best player in Europe will recuperate in time for the World Cup. Adam Lallana came in to replace him. Unbelievably enough, another player was crying on the pitch five minutes later. It was Dani Carvajal, who had suffered a muscle injury that by the look of his reaction was serious. Nacho replaced Spain’s right back.In the 43rd minute, Loris Karius made a fantastic reaction save on Cristiano’s short-range header. Benzema scored on the rebound, but he was offside. Replays showed Ronaldo was also slightly offside, but the assistant referee didn’t raise the flag on his attempt. Liverpool’s fans, who were singing and shouting, became silent after Salah’s exit. The atmosphere in the stadium had completely died out. The electricity was gone. After three minutes of injury time, Milorad Mazic sent the players to their locker rooms.Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, LiverpoolMo Salah laughs off Sadio Mane incident with a brilliant video Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Mohamed Salah laughed off his little spat with Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane by posting a brilliant video showing they’ve made up.At the beginning of the second half, we saw the clearest opportunity of the final. A mistake in midfield and a careless clearance by Lallana led to an open shot for Isco, who should’ve scored. Instead, Real’s player hit the cross bar. What happened in the 51st minute will go down as the biggest mistake by a goalkeeper in Champions League final history. I can’t understand what Karius was thinking. He tried to hand the ball off to his teammate while Benzema was right in front of him, almost as if the German didn’t see the French striker. Karim stretched his foot, blocking Karius’ pass and scoring a ridiculous goal for any match, let alone a CL final.Sadio Mane, Liverpool’s most active player during the first half, equalized four minutes after the opener. It was a response Klopp and his lads needed desperately. It happened during a corner kick, which ended up on Lovren’s head. The Croatian’s header was closely followed by the aware Senegalese, who tapped the ball in, tying the score at 1-1. In the 61st minute, Gareth Bale substituted Isco. If Benzema’s goal was absolute nonsense, Gareth Bale’s overhead strike three minutes after he entered the pitch was an absolute wonder goal. Marcelo sent a cross with his weaker right foot, the Welshman went up in the air and did his best Ronaldo impression while scoring a spectacular goal that gave the lead back to Real Madrid. It was a very similar goal to Mario Mandzukic’s in last year’s final and a goal that will be on Champions League highlight reels for years to come.In the 70th minute, Sadio Mane hit the post with a shot from just outside Real’s penalty box. In the 74th minute, Andy Robertson’s perfect last-moment tackle saved The Reds from going down by two. Ronaldo was in an excellent position to score. The fact that he was on his weaker left foot gave Robertson just enough time to react and block his shot attempt. If you thought Karius couldn’t do anything worse, he did. In the 84th minute, Bale fired a shot from about 25-30 meters out. The ball was coming right into Karius’ hands, yet he somehow managed to let it slip through his fingers and allow it to go into the net. I just have no words to describe how pathetic his performance was tonight – the worst I’ve ever seen in an important match in my life. He basically gifted the title to his opponent. A true disgrace. If I was a manager, I wouldn’t let him step on a football field ever again.Zidane made his last switch two minutes before the end, changing Benzema with Asensio. That was it. Real Madrid is the back-to-back-to-back champion. Congrats to Los Blancos! They won in what was one of the weirdest finals I’ve ever seen. Gareth Bale was the difference-maker and the final score was 3-1, just as I predicted.last_img

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