Real Madrid’s Penalty Shoot-Out Victory Unveiled: Uncovering the Three Manchester City Players Vulnerable to Going Down the Middle, Two Stars Avoiding Spot-Kicks for an Unusual Reason, and Chelsea Flop’s Impact

Real Madrid’s Penalty Shoot-Out Victory Unveiled: Uncovering the Three Manchester City Players Vulnerable to Going Down the Middle, Two Stars Avoiding Spot-Kicks for an Unusual Reason, and Chelsea Flop’s Impact

The secrets of Real Madrid’s penalty shoot-out win over Manchester City have been revealed as Pep Guardiola’s hopes of a double Treble were dashed.

Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin saved spot-kicks from Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic early in the shoot-out before Antonio Rudiger stepped up to put the Spaniards through.

It followed a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes of largely City domination, with Kevin De Bruyne cancelling out Rodrygo’s early opener for Real.

Lunin spoke afterwards about how Real identified three City players likely to place their penalties down the middle and that intuition paid off when Silva fired a dreadful kick straight into his gloves.

Kovacic also sent his kick centrally and Lunin was able to get down to his right to repel it.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin saves from Mateo Kovacic as preparation paid off in their Champions League victory over Manchester City

Lunin had moments earlier made a very straightforward save to deny City's Bernardo Silva

Lunin had moments earlier made a very straightforward save to deny City’s Bernardo Silva

Ukrainian keeper Lunin was the hero of the hour as Real sent the reigning champions out

Ukrainian keeper Lunin was the hero of the hour as Real sent the reigning champions out

‘We prepared it with the goalkeeping coach and there were three players with whom we had doubts about whether to stay in the middle or not,’ Lunin told Marca afterwards.

READ MORE: Footage shows Real Madrid star Antonio Rudiger telling Andriy Lunin where to dive before vital penalty save… and did Kepa help team-mate call Bernardo Silva’s bluff? 

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Another factor was that certain Real players actively declined the chance to take a kick.

Luka Modric was denied by Ederson when he took Real’s first kick, but Jude Bellingham, Lucas Vazquez, Nacho and Rudiger made no mistake.

Marca said that Eder Militao turned down the chance to take one because his fellow Brazilian Ederson knows his intentions too well.

Federico Valverde was another who didn’t step forward among the designated five takers because he was suffering from fatigue after extra time.

Instead, Modric and Vazquez, who’d come on as substitutes and had fresher legs, stepped up.

The role of Kepa, the goalkeeper who lost his place to Lunin a few months ago, was also revealed.

Davide Ancelotti, the son of coach Carlo and his assistant, explained that Kepa helped finesse the Real penalty-taker line-up during the closing stages of extra time.

Kepa then chatted to Lunin in the pause before the shoot-out to convey his advice. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga was seen deep in conversation with Lunin shortly before the shootout

Kepa Arrizabalaga was seen deep in conversation with Lunin shortly before the shootout

Eder Militao (left) and Fede Valverde (right) were two Real players who didn't want to take one

Eder Militao (left) and Fede Valverde (right) were two Real players who didn’t want to take one

Antonio Rudiger appeared to tell Andriy Lunin which way Mateo Kovacic would shoot

Antonio Rudiger appeared to tell Andriy Lunin which way Mateo Kovacic would shoot

Rudiger was mobbed by team-mates after scoring the winning penalty against City

Rudiger was mobbed by team-mates after scoring the winning penalty against City

Kepa has experience of facing City in a penalty shoot-out – he played for Chelsea in the 2019 Carabao Cup final, refusing to be substituted off by coach Maurizio Sarri for Willy Caballero late in extra time.

Though Kepa did save from Leroy Sane, City went on to win the shoot-out 4-3, but the keeper’s advice this time led to a small measure of revenge.

Rudiger also helped by appearing to tell Lunin which way Kovacic would send his penalty.

Footage showed Rudiger frantically pointing to his left – the goalkeeper’s right – in the moments before his former Chelsea team-mate too his penalty.

Lunin obliged and kept out Kovacic’s effort, setting Real Madrid on course for the semi-finals.

The Ukrainian keeper later revealed that the decision to stay put was taken before the shoot-out.

‘I needed to take a risk with one of the kicks, we picked one (to stay in the middle) and thank goodness it worked out in our favour,’ Lunin said.

‘It’s an away Champions League game and we went through a lot of suffering… but I’m very grateful to the team for everything they’ve fought for. I can’t imagine myself running like my team mates did today.’

Rudiger stepped up to score the decisive penalty as Real Madrid reached the semifinals

Rudiger stepped up to score the decisive penalty as Real Madrid reached the semifinals

That save proved the turning point of the shootout as Madrid went on to score their final four spot-kicks and reach the semifinals.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team will now face Bayern Munich in the last four after the German giants overcame Arsenal 3-2 on aggregate.  

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