Real Madrid made it through to the Spanish Supercup final following a tight match with Valencia, eliminating them on penalties. The match finished 1-1, but Real Madrid looked far more comfortable in the shoot-out, scoring all four of theirs and seeing Valencia score just three of five.
Los Blancos had Thibaut Courtois to thank for getting them there, making two massive saves late on to keep the scoreline at parity. He would come up big again at the decisive moment, saving Jose Gaya’s final spot kick.
Speaking to Marca after the match, Courtois explained that he had an array of information on the kick-takers before they stepped up.
“Normally in penalties it is partly about studying the opposition. Cavani put the last one to my right and that’s why I dove there, although he later put it to the other side. The one that missed we knew he was going to throw hard to the right. Then Ilaix and Hugo have taken good penalties. And Gaya had missed the last one against Sevilla on the left and in the shootout against Betis he shot in the middle, so I decided to dive in the middle and I was able to stop it.”
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“We do not train penalties as such. Only when a colleague wants to take one. I study penalties. I see videos of the rivals. The teammates have scored four of four and they have done very well.”
Manager Carlo Ancelotti also explained how he selects his penalty takers.
“The key to penalties? Experience, the most experienced players. The three most experienced shot first, the coolest, Karim, Kroos, Modric… Then Asensio, who has a great shot… And the last Vinicius… it’s a good thing that he didn’t have to take one.”
Real Madrid once again had their goalkeeper to thank for a win. Courtois has struggled with fitness so far this season, but was back to his best against Los Che.
Winner of the Lev Yashin award last year, he has a just claim to say he was one of Real Madrid’s best two players last season. Time and again, he has shown he is the best goalkeeper in the world currently.