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Courtois reveals why he saved Messi's penalty

Courtois reveals secret behind Messi penalty save as Leo sets unwanted record with miss vs Real Madrid

February 16, 2022 By Ali M.
The Real Madrid keeper prevented the Argentine from scoring from the spot. Here's why the Belgian guessed right for Messi's penalty.

While Kylian Mbappe put in yet another headline-worthy display for PSG, scoring a last-minute winner in their UEFA Champions League showdown with Real Madrid, Lionel Messi disappointed for his new club once again.

The Argentine ace cut a frustrated and anonymous figure in the Parc des Princes showdown as he failed to test the opposition in his first clash with bitter rivals Los Blancos since departing Barcelona.

Things got worse for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner in the second half as he saw his penalty attempt saved by Thibaut Courtois. While Pochettino's men dominated the ball, they struggled to create clear-cut goalscoring chances, so when Mbappe was brought down in the box by Dani Carvajal, La Pulga was given the golden opportunity to put the home side in front.

The 34-year-old went to the keeper's left, which is not unusual, but Courtois guessed correctly and saved the attacker's spot kick. While the Belgian's heroics did not prevent them from losing, heading to the Bernabeu with a 1-0 deficit keeps them well and truly in the game.

After the final whistle, the former Atletico and Chelsea goalkeeper revealed the tactic behind his save against Messi. According to the Blancos ace, Leo has missed quite a few attempts when he went for the right and thus predicted he would go down the opposite direction.

"Obviously he shoots a lot of penalties in a season so it's hard to guess right," Thibaut told BT Sport. "But he missed a few ones on this side [the right] so I think it was obvious he was going to the left. 

"Maybe in the middle he scored one against Leipzig, so I just said 'okay we will go left' and I had a good save."

While PSG eventually came away with the win, Leo set an unwanted record thanks to his below-par spot kick. That was the fifth time in UEFA Champions League history that the Argentine missed a penalty, thus equaling the record for most misses by a single player in this tournament, which was set by Arsenal icon Thierry Henry.

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