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5 times big players missed easy chances in finals

Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Final
Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Final
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Modified 25 Aug 2020, 13:41 IST
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More often than not, sport is defined by singular moments. Those singular moments could be the difference between collective ecstasy or collective grief.

Football is no different, as we have so often seen how a singular moment of inspiration or madness could be the difference between victory and defeat on the biggest of days.

Take your mind back to the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, when Zinedine Zidane's incredible left-footed volley proved to be the winner for Real Madrid on the night against Bayer Leverkusen.

Zidane himself was the beneficiary of some madness 16 years later in the same tournament, now as the manager of Real Madrid. Liverpool's Loris Karius lived out a nightmare in Kyiv, and Los Blancos had won their third consecutive title, beating the Reds 3-1 in the final.

But, there have been several big games in football that have turned on the back of a glaring miss from an attacking player, which has come back to bite teams in the backside.

We take a look at five such misses, which were pivotal in swinging the outcome of some big games the other way.


#5 Andriy Shevchenko | AC Milan v Liverpool, 2005

UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool
UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool

AC Milan were crusing at half-time of the 2005 UEFA Champions League against Liverpool at Istanbul. Carlo Ancelotti's side were 3-0 up at the break and even the most optimistic of Liverpool fans might have told you a comeback was well beyond Rafa Benitez's side that day.

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But somehow Liverpool summoned up all their reserves of character and spirit and quality, to produce a maddening five-minute spell early in the second half to tie the game at 3-3.

Milan eventually took control of the game, and kept creating some very decent chances, only to not finish them off. In the second half of extra-time though, Shevchenko had the chance to seal the final, but he just couldn't, perhaps an indication that the trophy was just destined to go to Liverpool that night.

After a cross from Serginho, the Ukrainian superstar powered a header on goal, which Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek managed to parry, but Shevchenko pounced on the rebound, and was just a yard away from goal.

He powered a shot on target, but somehow Dudek put his hands in the right place, and the ball deflected over the bar for a corner to Milan.

The game eventually went to a penalty shootout, where Shevchenko had his decisive penalty saved by Dudek, as Liverpool won their fifth UEFA Champions League title.


#4 Arjen Robben | Netherlands v Spain, 2010

Netherlands v Spain: 2010 FIFA World Cup Final
Netherlands v Spain: 2010 FIFA World Cup Final
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The Netherlands and Spain locked horns in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, with both nations looking to win their first ever world title, at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.

It was mostly a very cagey final, with both teams understandably not willing to be too expansive at the risk of leaving things open a the back, for the likes of David Villa and Arjen Robben to exploit.

Even so, Robben had two big one-on-one opportunities with Casillas in that game. The first one was saved by the onrushing Spanish 'keeper's leg and the ball squirted wide of the net.

When Robben got another similar chance, you would have banked on him burying the opportunity, but this team he took a slightly heavy touch, and Casillas was again able to rush out and smother the shot before any damage could be done.

Eventually, the game went into extra-time, and two minutes before the end of that, Andres Iniesta popped up to score one of the most significant goals in Spanish Football history.

Robben was left to rue his misses on a night of would-haves and could-haves for Dutch Football.

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Published 24 Aug 2020, 20:09 IST
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