Africa Sports Page
FeaturedUEFA Champions League

Valverde Continutes His Fine Form As Real Mardrid Finished The UCL Group Stage With A Win

Real Madrid hammered Celtic 5-1 to secure top spot in UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group F, while inflicting upon Celtic their sixth consecutive defeat away to Spanish opposition in the process.

Only once before, back in 2016, had Celtic not won a group stage match amongst Europe’s elite, and there was little sign that they would avoid a repeat here in Madrid. Ange Postecoglou’s first foray into the tournament could scarcely have been worse already, but his men hit a new low after less than six minutes at the Santiago Bernabéu. Moritz Jenz was the culprit, handling Fede Valverde’s shot inside the area and giving referee Stéphanie Frappart no choice but to award a penalty, which Luka Modrić dispatched with ease.

Los Blancos were two up before the midway point of the half, again netting from the spot following a VAR intervention, with Vinícius Júnior’s shot striking Matt O’Riley’s arm from close range. Rodrygo took advantage of another gift to double his side’s lead. The 2-0 HT scoreline only told half the story though, and Thibaut Courtois needed to be alert to save efforts from Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate, while the visitors even had a penalty of their own when Ferland Mendy hauled down Liel Abada in the area. The subsequent effort, however, saw Courtois guess right to deny Josip Juranović.

Celtic were made to rue that miss shortly after the interval. On this occasion, there was no need for a Frappart intervention, as Marco Asensio fired beyond Joe Hart from just inside the area. Shortly after the hour mark, the hosts extended their lead even further, Vinícius tapping Valverde’s cross into the corner. Uruguayan Valverde then swept home from 20 yards to cap off an impressive personal and team performance.

Jota’s marvellous free-kick in the final ten minutes at least gave the travelling contingent something to celebrate, but it was nothing more than a consolation on a difficult night. It turned out to be a stroll in the park for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, and they can now look forward to Monday’s Round of 16 draw. Celtic, meanwhile, are now winless in ten trips to Spanish clubs, and will need to wait until 2023/24 for their next European encounter.

He was the man of the match.

Related posts

Egypt beat South Sudan in a friendly ahead of U-20 AFCON

Tawiah Martin

Match Report: Saudi Arabia Ends Albiceleste’s 36 – Match Unbeaten Run

Emmanuel Asante

Coach Corentin Martins wants Libya to end on a high

Tawiah Martin

Leave a Comment